Diabetes is a chronic, debilitating disease affecting every organ system. There are two major types of diabetes: type-one and type-two.

Type-one diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which a person’s pancreas stops producing insulin, a hormone that enables people to get energy from food. Type-one diabetes usually strikes in childhood, adolescence, or young adulthood, and lasts a lifetime. Just to survive, people with type-one diabetes must take multiple injections of insulin daily or continually infuse insulin through a pump.

Type-two diabetes is a metabolic disorder in which a person’s body still produces insulin but is unable to use it effectively. Type-two is usually diagnosed in adulthood and does not always require insulin injections. However, increased obesity has led to a recent rise in cases of type-two diabetes in children and young adults.

Taking insulin does not cure any type of diabetes, nor does it prevent the possibility of the disease’s devastating effects: kidney failure, blindness, nerve damage, amputation, heart attack, stroke, and pregnancy complications.

The Scope of Diabetes

  • Nearly 26 million Americans have diabetes (8.3 percent of the population):
  • Diagnosed: 18.8 million
  • Undiagnosed: 7 million
  • As many as three million Americans may have type-one diabetes.2
  • Diabetes currently affects 285 million people worldwide and is expected to affect 435 million by 2030.3
  • In the U.S., a new case of diabetes is diagnosed every 30 seconds; more than 1.9 million people are diagnosed each year.

The Cost of Diabetes

  • Diabetes is one of the costliest chronic diseases.
  • In 2007, diabetes accounted for $174 billion in health care costs in the U.S.
  • Diabetes accounts for 32 percent of all Medicare expenditures.
  • The nation spent $11,700 annually on each person with diabetes in 2009 compared to $4,400 on each person without diabetes.
  • Americans with diabetes incur medical expenses that are approximately 2.3 times higher than those incurred by Americans without diabetes.
  • U.S. hospital stays related to diabetes totaled $58.3 billion in 2007.
  • An estimated 22 percent of hospital inpatient days in the U.S. were incurred by people with diabetes in 2007.

The Harm Caused by Diabetes

  • Damage to Many Organ Systems: Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure, adult blindness, and non-traumatic amputations. It is also a leading cause of nerve damage.
  • Increased Heart Disease Risk: People with diabetes are two-to- four times more likely to have a heart attack or stroke than people without the disease.
  • Shortened Life: Diabetes kills one American every three minutes and is the seventh leading cause of death in the U.S. Life expectancy for people with diabetes has historically been shortened by an average of seven to 10 years, and the risk of death for people with diabetes is about double that of people of similar age without diabetes.

Type-one Diabetes Facts:
Type-one diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas. While its causes are not yet entirely understood, scientists believe that both genetic factors and environmental triggers are involved.

Affects Children and Adults
Type-one diabetes strikes people at any age. It comes on suddenly, causes dependence on injected or pumped insulin for life, and carries the constant threat of devastating complications.

Needs Constant Attention
To stay alive, people with type-one diabetes must take multiple insulin injections daily or continually infuse insulin through a pump. They must also test their blood sugar by pricking their fingers for blood six or more times a day. While trying to balance insulin doses with their food intake and daily activities, people with this form of diabetes still must always be prepared for serious hypoglycemic (low blood sugar) and hyperglycemic (high blood sugar) reactions, both of which can be life-limiting and life threatening.

Not Cured By Insulin
While insulin injections or infusions allow a person with type-one to stay alive, they do not cure diabetes, nor do they necessarily prevent the possibility of the disease’s devastating effects, which may include: kidney failure, blindness, nerve damage, amputations, heart attack, stroke, and pregnancy complications.

Difficult to Manage
Despite paying rigorous attention to maintaining a meal plan and exercise regimen and always injecting the proper amount of insulin, people with type-one diabetes face many other factors that can adversely affect efforts to tightly control blood sugar levels. These factors include stress, hormonal changes, periods of growth, physical activity, medications, illness/infection, and fatigue.