Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Almost 21 Million

According to the American Diabetes Association, that's how many Americans suffer from Diabetes, a third of which have not yet been diagnosed.

90% of Diabetes patients suffer from Type 2, also known as Adult-Onset Diabetes. The rest suffer from Type 1 or Juvenile Diabetes.

Why should this matter to you?

Because being overweight or obese is a leading risk factor for Type 2. Which is to say, like many health issues facing Americans and our health care system, proper diet and exercise can prevent the onset of or even reverse the effects of Type 2 Diabetes. Type 1, which is an autoimmune disorder, is hereditary and is not caused by nor can it be managed by diet and exercise. Type 1 Diabetics need to constantly monitor their blood glucose levels and administer insulin several times a day. This is done with a needle or an insulin pump.

I believe the two forms of the disease should almost not even share the same name. It has been my experience and understanding that Type 2, where either the body does not produce enough insulin or the cells ignore the insulin, is the form brought on mostly by lifestyle choices. Because it has so many more sufferers, it also garners the lion's share of attention in the media, and I can only presume fund raising and funding efforts for research and treatment.

Meanwhile, Type 1, which is now thought to be very near to a cure but comprises a small percentage of all diabetes cases, is often misunderstood or lumped in with Type 2. As such, I wonder if some dollars spent on research into the treatment of Type 2, would be better spent on Type 1, which is not a disease so much of choice and which effects children, at least at its onset in most cases.

Case in point, while it is thought that a cure for Type 1 Diabetes may only be five to ten years away, seventy per cent of the respondents to the poll mentioned below thought that there is already a cure for Type 1 Diabetes.

This is why my family and I favor the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation over The American Diabetes Association as the JDRF is focussed on Type 1 funding and research efforts.

Type 2 will probably always exist in our population. That is not to say that there aren't great opportunities for care and prevention of Type 2. In fact, recent studies have shown that the growing phenomenon of childhood obesity and the unfortunate resultant early onset of Type 2 Diabetes is now for the first time actually reducing life expectancies for some of our newest generation.

This could be reduced by educating parents on the benefits of a healthier diet and exercise, the detrimental effects of childhood obesity and of the alarming increase in occurrence of Type 2 Diabetes in younger and younger people.

Any disease that effects so many Americans, about 7 per cent of the population, is the No. 1 cause of blindness, kidney disease and heart failure, and costs so much to treat and care for should be a concern to all of us especially as it relates to our growing overall health care crisis.

In a story in today's Star Tribune Business section, it was announced Medtronic, who makes my daughter's MiniMed insulin pump and blood glucose meter, has released the results of a survey they commissioned that indicates in fact that Americans are ill informed and confused about the disease.

Medtronic will be spending an undisclosed amount of money on initiatives, local events and an informational website to educate the American Public regarding the causes and treatment of both Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes.


jacquie4000 said...

My son Kyle has a very close friend with Type 1. Infact his family was just talking to us yesterday about a new contact for your eyes that will change color when your surgar levels are off. This will replace having to prick yourself all the time. It is to be on the market fairly soon I am told, if you would like me to get info on it for you I will.

jroosh said...

I have heard about the device that "looks" into your eyes

but not the contact lens idea, so yes, if you can point me in the right direction I would like to learn more about it.

jacquie4000 said...

Here is some info on it.

My friends can't wait till it comes out.