Nearly 26 million adults and children in the U.S. have been diagnosed with diabetes. Another 79 million people have pre-diabetes, a condition that increases their risk for developing type 2 (typically known as adult-onset diabetes). The Capitol Region is not exempted from the growing numbers.
What is diabetes?
According to the American Diabetes Association, "diabetes" refers to a number of diseases, the most common being type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes. In each, the body does not produce or properly use insulin--a hormone that is needed to convert sugar starches and other food into the energy we need to live.
The exact causes of diabetes are still unclear, although both genetics and environmental or lifestyle factors can play an important role. Diabetes and its complications can include vision problems, risk for stroke, kidney damage, and severe nerve pain. Diabetes also has a great impact on our health costs:
- $245 billion: Total costs of diagnosed diabetes in the United States in 2012
- $176 billion for direct medical costs
- $69 billion in reduced productivity
Life beyond cookies and ice cream
Schenectady resident Fred Elia, who cooks with diabetic needs in mind, says that families need not be overwhelmed. "Cooking with brown rice, fresh vegetables, and non-sugary desserts can be inexpensive, fun, and very creative." Dr. Dan Notzon of Columbia University advises exercise, but nothing extraordinary. "Thirty minute walks five times a week will be very beneficial...enough to elevate the cardiovascular system."
In the Capitol Region, the Golub Corporation, which runs Price Chopper supermarkets, offers no-cost medications and supplies for diabetics.
A diagnosis of diabetes is not welcome news. But the changes it brings need not be devastating.
Dave Balog works with families and businesses to reduce costs and save. email@example.com; 355-0967.