Diabetes Prevention: The Best Kind of Medicine

Every November, the health care community at large educates the public on the global pandemic of Diabetes.  In fact the United States has dubbed November as diabetes Awareness Month.  For this reason, we have dedicated our blog to diabetes education for the next few weeks.  While we have dwelt on this topic several times in the past, it is a major concern in our society today, and must continually be addressed if we have any hope of reversing the diabetic health trends that are spiraling out of control.

The Facts

The following are staggering statistics from the American Diabetes Association:

  • 29 million Americans have diabetes

  • 1 in 11 Americans has diabetes today

  • Every 23 seconds, someone in the U.S. is diagnosed with diabetes

  • 86 million Americans are at risk for diabetes

  • Diabetes causes more deaths than AIDS and breast cancer combined

Shocking right?  Sadly this is the reality of the diabetes situation in America and will only continue to become worse unless we devote significant time, attention, resources, and emphasis on solving this complex problem.

Prevention

While we are continually focusing on those who currently suffer from this disease, today we want focus on those 86 million Americans who are at risk for diabetes.  Prevention is always the best medicine.  The majority of those 29 million americans suffer from Type 2 diabetes, which is a preventable form of the disease through healthy lifestyle modifications.  Proper diet, exercise and weight loss can bring a person on the verge of a diabetes diagnosis back to a bill of good health.  After all, if you don’t have your health, what do you have?

The saying that “health is wealth” could not be more accurate when it comes to diabetes.  In fact, four years ago, in 2012, total costs of diagnosed diabetes in the United States reached 245 billion. $176 billion of that came from direct medical costs and the other $69 billion in reduced economic productivity.

These numbers can seem larger than life, and even hard to comprehend, so let’s break this down on a more personal level. On average a diabetic is taking a minimum of 5 prescription drugs to manage their diabetes and to halt the progression of their disease.  Each of these medications have their own panel of side effects and potential adverse reactions.  The benefits, however, outweigh the risks of unchecked and untreated diabetes.  The personal economic impact is substantial. In 2013 those with diabetes averaged $14,999 in healthcare costs per year, compared with $4,305 per year of those without diabetes.  That’s a difference of $10,694 in case you didn’t’ do the math!  To further put that into perspective, you and a significant other could spend 6 days/5 nights at an all-inclusive resort in Bora Bora for that kind of dough, and have about $1,200 dollars left over for souvenirs!   Let’s take this even further.  If a person were to invest the $10,694 per year in mutual funds over a 20 year period, earning a 10% return (S&P500’s average ROR over the last 30 years), they would have a whopping $645,195.37 nest egg.  Not bad huh? Obviously our point is not to give vacation or investment advice, but simply to drive home that fact that health truly is wealth, and that prevention is always the best medicine.  You will feel better and live better in every aspect of your life if you choose now to change your lifestyle.

Conclusion

If you find that your doctor has declared you to be pre-diabetic, decide today that you can and will do something about it. However, do not be discouraged if you try and make mistakes.  The path of success is often riddled with failures, just remain persistent and consistent and you will get there! As Podiatrists, we are leading partners on the healthcare team and we are dedicated to provide the proper education, support, motivation, and treatment of this debilitating disease. Don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with  Dr. Jay C. Larson at Sole Foot and Ankle Specialists in Glendale, Arizona.

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