One in eight Americans has type 2 diabetes, poll says

As the staggering diabetes epidemic continues to plague our nation, a new poll brings a harsh reality into the light.

According to a Harris Interactive / HealthDay poll, one in eight Americans has been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes - and the numbers are continuing to grow.

The quick and silent killer

Chairman of the Harris Poll, Humphrey Taylor, says that type 2 diabetes is one of the fastest-growing diseases, with 29 million people in the U.S. now diagnosed with the condition.

Dr. Ronald Tamler, clinical director of the Mount Sinai Diabetes Center in New York City, also notes that the disease is one that can creep up with little or no warning: "Diabetes is very insidious. You don't know you're in trouble until the complications hit or until it's so out of control you have uncontrolled urination and thirst."

And while 60 percent of the poll respondents said they knew that genetics can play a role in type 2 diabetes, only 35 percent said their diabetes was "somewhat" controlled. Five percent said it was "not at all" well controlled.

"Because diabetes is a chronic condition, the treatment of which is critically dependent on patient behavior and self-care, this may be the most alarming finding," Taylor said.

Need for more awareness

Only 21 percent of respondents said that they considered themselves at-risk for the disease, but based on current estimations, this means that 79 percent may not know they already have diabetes or are well on their way to developing it.

About 80 percent do realize that being overweight is a risk factor, and 74 percent know that diet can be a major cause. Still, only 62 percent said they realize physical inactivity can lead to diabetes. And only 39 percent of adults said they knew diabetes can cause strokes.

"People need to be aware that this is another disease caused by diabetes that can be prevented," said Nancy Copperman, director of Public Health Initiatives at North Shore-LIJ Health System in Great Neck, N.Y. "The idea of having a stroke might motivate them to change their lifestyle."

About 9 percent of respondents said that type 2 diabetes has made them unable to work, and 20 percent said the disease is a "significant" burden in terms of dietary restrictions, medical costs and health problems.

Source: US News Health

Image courtesy of antprk / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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