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Is Diabetes the Third-Leading Cause of Death?

June 8, 2017 
By Ariana Colozzo

A new study done by researchers at Boston University School of Public Health found that over 300,000 Americans die from diabetes, or 12 percent of deaths—almost four times as many Americans die of diabetes than as reported on death certificates.

What is diabetes?
In type 1 diabetes, the immune system destroys insulin-producing cells in the pancreas, making the body unable to produce enough insulin to process sugar. Type 2 diabetes, caused by genetics and lifestyle factors, occurs when the body can't use the insulin it produces. In people with prediabetes, their blood sugar is higher than normal, and without any lifestyle changes, they are likely to develop diabetes.

Though diabetes and prediabetes collectively affect one in three people, there is no cure for diabetes. Therefore, preventing it is so important. Reduce your risk for type 2 diabetes by:

•    Exercising for at least 30 minutes a day.
•    Eating a balanced diet and limiting fats and sugars.
•    Keeping a healthy weight.
•    Maintaining healthy cholesterol and blood pressure levels.
•    Quitting tobacco use.
•    Partnering with your physician if you think you may be at risk.

If you've already been diagnosed with diabetes, it's crucial keep a healthy diet, exercise and work with your doctor. If these conditions aren’t managed properly, they can cause a variety of serious complications including blindness, kidney failure, heart disease, stroke and loss of toes, feet or legs.

Changing a national conversation
The study used findings from two national surveys to compare the information on their death certificates with the complications of diabetes throughout their lives and whether or not the complications eventually had a cause in their deaths. They found that over a five-year period, diabetics had a 90 percent higher mortality rate than those without it.

And reducing the instances of diabetes won't only benefit our health. Annually, the U.S. spends $250 billion in medical costs and lost wages, which puts a financial burden on top of those already dealing with a major health issue. It can also affect work productivity and employee engagement. Because of these severe medical and financial consequences, it’s paramount that those with diabetes or prediabetes are correctly treating and managing their conditions. Best Doctors makes sure its members have the correct diagnoses, treatment plans and information about any medical condition—no matter the complexity.

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