Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Diabetes: The Sleeper Disease

A recently article noted the public's misperception of the dangers of diabetes:

In a set of recent focus groups, participants were asked to rank the severity of various health problems, including cancer, heart disease and diabetes.

On a scale of 1 to 10, cancer and heart disease consistently ranked as 9s and 10s. But diabetes scored only 4s and 5s.

“The general consensus seems to be, ‘There’s medication,’ ‘Look how good people look with diabetes’ or ‘I’ve never heard of anybody dying of diabetes,’ ” said Larry Hausner, chief executive of the American Diabetes Association, which held the focus groups. “There was so little understanding about everything that dealt with diabetes.”

It's sad. Even among people I know well who I know are intelligent just do not process the risks appropriately. They utilize the logic that, if I don't feel sick now, I must not be sick, and therefore avoid preventative care. Call it the paradox of prevention, I guess. Honestly, before med school, I was the same way. I thought diabetes just meant high blood sugar, but after seeing patients with ESRD due to diabetes, foot ulcers because of neuropathies, and vision loss, it is shocking how little people know about this disease relative to diseases like cancer. We have fancy "cancer centers," but where are the hospitals focused on diabetes? People talk about high blood pressure as a "silent killer," but perhaps the title best belongs to diabetes.

1 comment:

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