Getting diagnosed with a chronic illness like diabetes trumped other common fears of Americans such as the uncertain state of the economy, debt, job loss and leaving a loved one, according to a recent survey.
The puzzling part is that despite the survey results, a very small number of people have made any changes to their diet or lifestyle to reduce their risk of diabetes and other chronic illnesses — even though most people know lifestyle to be the cause of many illnesses.
Today this has become the direct equivalent to such time bombs as continuing to smoke while knowing it causes lung cancer and dramatically reduces life expectancy.
Diabetes afflicts one out of every four Americans and most of those with the disease don’t even realize they have it. Additionally, there are 57 million Americans with pre-diabetes. This is where the blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be officially diagnosed as diabetes.
“We know Americans view activities like bungee jumping as especially risky and so they avoid them, “ said Richard M. Bergenstal, MD, President-Elect, Medicine & Science, American Diabetes Association. “However these same people are gambling daily by ignoring risk factors for a life-altering disease like diabetes and doing nothing about it.”