Diabetes is the number 1 cause of death in Mexico now and along the US side of the border. It is also the third leading cause of death. This is the result of a study undertaken by the Pan American Health Organization. More and more type 2 diabetes cases are found along the border.
About 1.1 million have diabetes and 836,000 are pre diabetic. Also about 22% do not know they have the disease. This is serious since almost a quarter cannot even take the steps to prevent the disease and its complications.
This is according to Dr. Maria Teresa Cerqueira who is the PAHO chief in the US-Mexican border. Representatives of PAHO presented the findings of the study at El Paso, Texas. People are now concerned about the burden type 2 diabetes will cause.
The data for the study were collected from 2000 and 2002 from 28 Mexican towns and 16 US counties. The study also found that only 4 out of every 10 checked their blood sugar levels in one year. This poor diabetes control will lead to complications, physical disability, low quality of life and early mortality.
Coordinator of the Project, Dr. Rosalba Ruiz, said that health care cost in 2002 is $13,243 per capita each year. Since the diabetes is 11% of the US health care expenses, it is clear the cost will be quite overwhelming in due time. There is a need for more education on this issue so it is good to get free subscriptions to newsletters.
The findings also indicate 90% of those with diabetes are obese or overweight. We know that being overweight and obesity are risk factors of type 2 diabetes. It is also a sad thing that very few diabetics monitor their blood glucose levels.
Poor management can lead to more complications. The director of the Elderly Health Program of the Secretariat of Health in Mexico, Dr. Agustin Lara said that the poor management also reduced the quality of life and led to more disability and earlier death. Thank goodness, more and more are learning about what to do to manage diabetes.