Diabetes mellitus (DM) is one of the most prevalent chronic ailment affecting children, adolescents and adults. Recent studies conducted in America indicate that type 1 diabetes (T1D) is the most predominant form of the disease, while type 2 diabetes is increasingly being recorded among the youth of racial/ethnic minority groups (CDC, 2011). Considering the high cost of health care in America, addressing the burden of diabetes is not only necessary, but crucial if survival of the populace is to be guaranteed.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC, 2011), close to 30 million people had diabetes in 2010. Future projections indicate that if the trend is not addressed, 1 in every 3 adult will suffer from diabetes by the year 2050 (CDC, 2011). 7 million out of the 25.8 million people affected with this life threatening disease had not been diagnosed in 2010. Similar studies conducted by DeBoer et al, 2011) demonstrated that while most people (85% of participants aged 35 years and older) recognize diabetes as a serious condition, majority of the participants at high risk of being infected by the illness were oblivious of the possibility that they could develop the disease (71% of participants at high risk).
On the same note DeBoer et al (2011) state that diabetes can lead to various serious complications including but not limited to: kidney disease, stoke, nervous system disease, and blindness among others, which contribute to high mortality and disability rates in America. Despite the presence of such complications, a survey conducted in 2008 indicated that most people suffering from diabetes were aware of blindness as a complication than they were to other more serious complications such as kidney disease, amputations or cardiovascular diseases (CVD). The survey was conducted to examine the awareness of diabetes complications among people with diabetes aged 35 years and older. 63% of the participants identified blindness as a serious complication. However, only 50% identified CVD as a serious complication and only 40% identified kidney disease as a serious complication caused by diabetes (Agrawal et al, 2008).
In regard to causes of diabetes among adults in the United States, Agrawal et al (2008) attribute the prevalence of the disease to poor dietary choices (fast foods and vending machine snacks), lack of adequate physical exercise and sedentary activities such as watching the television, gaming and using computers. As such, the author suggested a change in lifestyle choices and increased awareness through campaigns as the best options of managing and avoiding cases of diabetes.
CDC (2009) suggests that people should go for regular check ups in order to know their risk levels. The author attributes this notion to the fact that early detection of the disease may lower the cost for treatment as well as the level of suffering and mortality currently being experiences by diabetics in the united state. The author further states that, diabetes kidney disease (DKD) has been on the rise among adults since 1988. This escalation contributes to higher spending and mortality (CDC, 2009).
Conclusively, these compelling statistics regarding the prevalence and trends of diabetes are indicative of our need to come up with more comprehensive diabetes management initiatives so as to improve people’s knowledge on this costly and undermined disease. If nations focus on creating awareness, improving detection and management for, and allocating more resources to the treatment of diabetes, they will have made a great impact on improving the health of their citizens.
Agrawal, V. (2008). Awareness and knowledge of Clinical practice guidelines for CKD among internal medicine residents: A national online survey. Am J Kidney Dis, 52: 1061 – 1069.
CDC. Number (in millions) of civilian, non-institutionalized persons with diagnosed diabetes, United States, 1980 – 2009. Web.
CDC. (2011). National diabetes factsheet: national estimates and general information on diabetes and pre-diabetes in the United States, 2011. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2011.
DeBoer, I. H., et al. (2011). Temporal trends in the prevalence of diabetic kidney disease in the United States. JAMA, 305(24): 2532 – 2539.