Diabetes as a consequence of American lifestyles continues to rage in epidemic proportions. According to statistics from the American Diabetes Association (www.diabetes.org), 23.8 million people have diabetes (10.7% of the population over Age 20 and an additional 57 million people who are in a pre-diabetes stage). If current trends continue, 1 out of 3 children born in the year 2000 will develop diabetes by 2050! Throw in the complications of diabetes including heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, nervous system disease, stroke and blindness and the total healthcare costs are staggering.
This healthcare crisis has not gone unnoticed by some influential folks. Of course, one of the biggest names in “cause awareness” is Oprah. It was recently announced that she is helping raise diabetes awareness by promoting free blood glucose screenings at Walgreen’s (Free-Blood-Glucose-Screening-at-Walgreens).
Hopefully people will hear the message and respond. Many in the media refer to it as “The Oprah Effect” and the need is huge. There are 5.7 million that have diabetes and have not yet been diagnosed.
While this is a great effort and getting folks in to be tested will save lives, it may not have much of an immediate effect on reducing pharmacy benefit costs. In fact, short-term costs will escalate while potentially reducing the overall costs of healthcare over a more mid-term period.
In addition to screening, we would like to see Americans get serious about their dietary and exercise habits in order to turn the tide on this deadly trend. We’re thinking of it as “The Okra Effect”, one which incorporates fresh fruits and vegetables as a bigger component of our menu. The fact is that okra (as just one example) is great for you, and that the mucilage and fiber in okra helps adjust blood sugar by regulating its absorption in the small intestine.
So this should be an easy recipe: more fruits and vegetables; mix in a heaping portion of moderate exercise (like walking); yields better glucose control with reduced dependency on manufactured pharmaceutical products; and equals less pharmacy benefit spend!