The Diabetes Epidemic and Its Effect on Society

Diabetes has a major impact on people who live with the disease, their family members, and society as a whole. According to the National Institutes of Health, it costs many billions of dollars to provide care for those with type 2 diabetes. NIH reports that there were almost 37 million people with this type of diabetes in adults who were aged 20 through 79. Another 44 million had impaired glucose tolerance, and 108,600 children who were up to 14 years of age had type 1 diabetes in North America and in the Caribbean. Expenses for health care for these patients was estimated at 263.2 billion dollars for 2013. Public health and the economy of these countries was greatly threatened by diabetes.

Lost Productivity

The American Diabetes Association estimated that the United States' economy lost 58 billion dollars in 2007 as a result of lost workdays from diabetes-related health problems. The fact that diabetes is a continually growing problem makes its impact on society even more profound. This association estimates that there are approximately 5.7 million people who have diabetes who have not been diagnosed and another 57 million who have pre-diabetes.

Far-Reaching Effects

Diabetic symptoms can affect those with diabetes on a daily basis. They may feel very tired if their blood sugar levels are not regulated, and this often leads to missed days of work due to the fact that it can be difficult to get out of bed and start the day. Blood sugar often spikes at the end of the sleep cycle and can be high when you wake up. This makes getting off to work for the day very difficult. Also, unless your blood sugar is under control, you may have other problems like low blood sugar that can have dangerous consequences.

Those with diabetes need to take everything that they do into account because of their disease. They need to watch everything that they eat and many need to monitor their blood sugar levels throughout the day. It is possible to develop depression due to the stress of the disease and the worry of complications that have definite effects on a person, including amputation of feet, and others. The American Diabetes Association says that diabetics may require help with their responsibilities, even if they are not clinically depressed. Help is available from many different diabetes health care professionals.

Other Societal Impacts

The ways that diabetes affects society goes on and on. Not only is the person with diabetes affected, but so are the families of those with the disease. When a spouse or parent is not able to work, he or she may need to go on disability, causing the family to lose the income that it once had. Businesses are also affected when employees with diabetes need to take off of work, and other employees must work harder to make up for the loss of those workers. Since there is currently no cure for diabetes, the problem continues to expand as more and more people find that they have this dreaded disease.

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