The leading cause of death in the United States for men and women is still heart disease. This includes heart attack, stroke and heart failure. 67 million Americans have hypertension, which is a major risk factor in heart disease, along with diabetes. According to the CDC, "1 in 3 adults in the United States suffer from high blood pressure, with many of them still uncontrolled."
According to the latest research from the CDC published in August 2014, "40% of Americans will develop diabetes in their life times, with minority groups being affected the most. Up to 50% of black women will develop diabetes and 50% of Hispanics, both men and women, will also have diabetes". It is stated that the risk of diabetes has escalated in the last 30 years because of the two strongest predicting risk factors - obesity and a longer life span.
Originally it was thought that type 2 diabetes can increase heart attacks by up to 2-3 times in men and women. The most recent research in Diabetes Care (March 2014) states that "women may be as much as 50% more at risk for fatal heart events than men, and that diabetes is more of a potential risk factor for heart events in women compared to men. Women with diabetes have more than 5 times an increased risk of a cardiac event than women without diabetes." The researchers continue to state that "current clinical guidelines may need to be revised to offer more aggressive treatment to women with diabetes."
Each assessment done for our diabetes self management skills program requires a complete food history - including the speed of one's eating: "Do you eat quickly/fast, normal speed or slowly?" I have asked this question to approximately 2,000 patients in the last three years. Since we are preparing for program re-accreditation, I found that approximately 70% of the patients answered "Fast"! How do they decide what fast is? They usually say that they were the first person finished at the table and were already reaching for a second helping.
I just returned from a high school reunion and I will say it has been more than 40 years since I have seen most of these people. As with the general population, there were people who gained weight, grew beards, went bald, wear glasses and developed chronic illnesses over the years including diabetes. Being a nurse/diabetes educator, I am always interested in how people age both physically and mentally. Of course, we all caught up about our careers, spouses, significant others as well as children and grandchildren. I also wanted to learn about how everyone was taking care of themselves and dealing with the aging process.