THE BLOG
09/02/2010 03:12 pm ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

60 Diabetes Seconds May Prevent A Diabetes Life

Given the statistics, no matter where you live, no matter your age or race, fat or thin, you may get diabetes. Did you know type 2 diabetes is the fifth leading cause of death in America and its complications affect every bodily system?

Most people don't know. That's why the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) has launched a series of great-to-look-at, real-people-on-the-street videos.

They're meant to wake you up - they woke me up to how little people know about diabetes - and shake you out of your slumber. Because if you don't know much about type 2 diabetes - the diabetes that's largely preventable - you're sleeping. And, trust me, you want to wake up and start taking steps so you don't get it.

I first saw these videos on DiabetesMine, the award-winning diabetes blog of advocate Amy Tenderich. Frankly you need to see them too. I suspect one of these is going to be the one that wakes you up to get tested for diabetes.

First, the shocking statistic most people don't know.

Q: How many people on the planet have diabetes?

Twenty-four million Americans have diabetes. 6 million of them don't know it.

Sixty million people are in line for type 2 diabetes - they have pre-diabetes. Think, there's a reason why they call it that.

One in three Americans will get diabetes in their lifetime. Nearly 1 in 3 children are either overweight or obese. Our future type 2 diabetics, many of whom will get diabetes before they ever leave childhood. That also means they'll have heart disease, high blood pressure, potential blindness, kidney disease and amputations in the prime of their lives.

Q: Which country has the most people with diabetes?

China - 92.4 million. With more than 1,000 McDonalds and 2,000 Kentucky Fried Chickens on street corners.

By 2025 the U.S., China and India will have the largest populations with diabetes. Researchers at the University of Chicago estimate that in a little more than 20 years the total number of Americans with diabetes will almost double, rising to over 44 million. That's almost 1/7 of the current American population. The World Health Organization projects diabetes deaths will double between now and 2030, and the IDF estimates by 2030 half a billion people around the world will have diabetes.

Q: What do most people with type 2 diabetes die of?

Heart disease, strokes and heart attack. By time you're diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, chances are high you have all the major cardiovascular risk factors.

But first, you can lose body parts.

If you don't have diabetes, keep it that way. Take the American Diabetes Association's risk test. If you're at risk, tell your doctor. It's your life - while you've got it.

Q: More people have diabetes than what two illnesses combined?

Breast cancer and AIDS. Imagine that!

So, how come we don't have a ribbon?

Maybe it's just the music, but that chokes me up every time. If you have diabetes join the millions this November who'll be spreading the word about diabetes prevention and education. If you have pre-diabetes and are overweight and aren't taking steps right now to shed some pounds and get active, please feel free to join us on World Diabetes Day - you'll be there soon enough.

One last look at diabetes from Novo Nordisk, Diabetes Month 2008. Funny, how little has changed.

One last question: What country sponsored the 2006 United Nations resolution for World Diabetes Day?

Bangladesh. After the U.S. and most countries in Europe declined.

You don't have to be a super power to change the world. You don't have to be a superman or woman to stop diabetes now for yourself, your family or your loved ones.

The International Diabetes Federation is an organization of over 200 national diabetes associations in over 160 countries. IDF has been leading the global diabetes community since 1950. IDF's mission is to promote diabetes care, prevention and a cure worldwide. With the incidence of diabetes around the world rising so quickly, for the first time in their 58-year history, the IDF will begin meeting every two years instead of every three.

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