Diabetes

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Diabetes is a disease in which the body does not make any insulin or can't use the insulin it does make as well as it should. Insulin is a hormone made in the body. It helps glucose (sugar) from food enter the cells where it can be used to give the body energy. Without insulin, glucose remains in the blood stream and cannot be used for energy by the cells. Over time, having too much glucose in the blood can cause many health problems.

Diabetes is the leading cause of new blindness, kidney disease, and amputation, and it contributes greatly to the state's and nation's number one killer, cardiovascular disease (heart disease and stroke). People with diabetes are more likely to die from flu or pneumonia.

Diabetes is not caused by eating too much sugar; in fact there is no such thing as "having a touch of sugar," as some people believe. Only a doctor or health care provider can diagnose diabetes either by conducting a fasting plasma glucose (FPG) test or an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT).

The Diabetes Epidemic

Diabetes is the most rapidly growing chronic disease of our time. It has become an epidemic that affects one out of every 12 adult New Yorkers. Since 1994, the number of people in the state who have diabetes has more than doubled, and it is likely that number will double again by the year 2050.

More than one million New Yorkers have been diagnosed with diabetes. It is estimated that another 450,000 people have diabetes and don't know it, because the symptoms may be overlooked or misunderstood.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recently predicted that one out of every three children born in the United States will develop diabetes in their lifetime. For Hispanic/Latinos, the forecast is even more alarming: one in every two.

Diabetes is Serious and Costly

Diabetes is not only common and serious; it is also a very costly disease.

The cost of treating diabetes is staggering. According to the American Diabetes Association, the annual cost of diabetes in medical expenses and lost productivity rose from $98 billion in 1997 to $132 billion in 2002 to $174 billion in 2007.

One out of every five U.S. federal health care dollars is spent treating people with diabetes. The average yearly health care costs for a person without diabetes is $2,560; for a person with diabetes, that figure soars to $11,744. Much of the human and financial costs can be avoided with proven diabetes prevention and management steps.

For More Information, Contact:

The New York State Diabetes Prevention and Control Program
150 Broadway – Room 350
Albany NY 12204-0678
Phone: (518) 408-0125
Fax: (518) 474-3356
E-mail:diabetes@health.state.ny.us