Type 2 diabetes is skyrocketing in the U.S. Treating the disease and the complications that can follow accounts for the biggest part of the $147-billion a year spent on obesity-related health care, officials say. That's because poorly controlled diabetes wreaks its havoc on the entire body, including:
HEART DISEASE: 68% of diabetes deaths are related to heart disease
STROKE RISK: 2 to 4 times greater in diabetics.
DIABETIC RETINOPATHY: (damage to blood vessels in the retina) is the leading cause of blindness in adults age 20-74
KIDNEY FAILURE: Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure.
HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE affects 75 percent of adult diabetics
ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION is among the consequences of nerve damage, which is reported by 60 to 70 percent of diabetics. Others include slow digestion, carpal tunnel syndrome and lack of sensation in the feet, which can lead to amputation.
LACK OF SENSATION IN FEET: Because of nerve damage, 30 percent of diabetics over age 40 have this condition, which can lead to amputation.
GUM DISEASE: Diabetics have double the risk, and a third of them lose teeth because of their disease.
LOWER-LIMB AMPUTATIONS: 60 percent of such surgeries that aren't caused by trauma such as a car accident are done in diabetics, due to nerve and blood vessel damage. In 2004 there were about 71,000 such procedures in the U.S.
UPPER-RESPIRATORY ILLNESS: Diabetics are at higher risk for pneumonia and the flu and are more likely to die from them.
STAMINA: Diabetics over age 60 are less likely to be able to walk a quarter mile, climb stairs, and do light tasks such as housework.
SOURCE: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention