Jim moved to Southwest Florida just a couple months ago. He was a young man in his early 30s, a professional who worked the second shift in front of a computer at an area publisher. He had no family there; it was a new job that brought him, and he was still getting to know folks and just beginning to make friends. So if anything seemed amiss with Jim, nobody would have been likely to notice it as out of the ordinary.
But a few days before Thanksgiving, he called in sick to his new job. The next day, feeling worse, he took himself to the hospital. Within two days, he was dead. Diabetes. Previously undiagnosed.
Diabetes kills people. Sometimes slowly, sometimes suddenly. Sometimes it's not the primary cause of death; people end up dying with their diabetes, but not necessarily from it. It's a disease that can be managed with careful monitoring and good medical care once it's been identified. The trouble is that more and more people are becoming diabetic at earlier ages, and the younger people are, the less likely they are to consider themselves at risk of serious disease. But there are few diseases more serious, and increasingly, there are few more common.
Maybe you've heard this before. Maybe you're tired of hearing it. Perhaps all the comfortable advertising with kids and musicians and athletes talking easily about their blood-testing devices has made this killer disease seem somehow familiar and less deadly. But it is deadly. And when a productive young man suddenly dies without ever knowing what was ailing him, it simply shows that the message is still not getting out enough.
So we say it again and again. And if one needless death can be prevented, it's still worth repeating. Plenty to Go AroundDiabetes rates have skyrocketed, right along with the rate of obesity. In 2002, it was the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, based on death certificates, but it's estimated that that data probably does not reflect the actual numbers. That ranking was based on the 73,249 death certificates on which diabetes was listed as the actual cause of death. Diabetes is likely to be underreported as a cause of death since many people with diabetes die of complications of the disease, and yet only about 35 to 40 percent of people who die with diabetes have diabetes listed anywhere on the death certificate, and only about 10 to 15 percent had it listed as the cause of death. According to death certificate reports for 2002, diabetes contributed to a total of 224,092 deaths that year.Overall, the risk for death among people with diabetes is about twice that of people without diabetes of similar age.There are nearly a quarter of a million new cases of diabetes diagnosed each year now among people aged 20 to 39. Among those aged 40 to 59, it's more 800,000. That's a lot of sick people. But worse, it's estimated that there are nearly 6 million people walking around with undiagnosed diabetes. Most of them are like Jim, happy people with plenty to live for, unaware that it's all silently slipping out of their grasp.The effects of diabetes >
Source: Health & Wellness
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