Increase in Diabetes Rate
A new study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that diabetes mellitus now affects approximately 29 million Americans, or 9.3% of the population. This is an increase of about 12% from numbers released in 2010. This dramatic increase was driven by increasing obesity rates, an aging population, and the fact that those of American Indian, African-American, and Latino descent are at a greater risk for developing the disease.
Other statistics and facts released as part of the study include:
· 1 in 4 Americans do not know they have diabetes;
· In 2012, 1.7 million Americans 20 years of age and older were newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes;
· Diabetes is thought to increase the risk of a heart attack or stroke as much as fourfold;
· An additional 86 million Americans – about 1 in 3 – have prediabetes, a condition in which blood sugar levels are elevated but below the level used for diagnosing diabetes
· About 15% to 30% of those with prediabetes will eventually develop diabetes within five years;
· Diabetes and diabetes-related complications accounted for $245 billion in medical costs and lost work and wages in 2012.
Differences Between Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes
Most Americans have likely heard of diabetes but may be unaware that there is more than one type of diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes is a disorder in which the body does not produce insulin, a hormone that helps move sugar from the bloodstream into the cells. This disorder can result from a virus or autoimmune disorder (in which the body’s immune system does not recognize an organ as being its own and attacks it as it would a disease). Most individuals with Type 1 diabetes are diagnosed before the age of 40 and are required to take insulin injections in order to move sugar from their bloodstream to their cells.
Type 2 diabetes (sometimes called adult onset diabetes) is a disorder in which the body produces insulin, but it is less efficient at doing so than a normal person without the disorder. As a result, people with Type 2 diabetes have high blood sugar levels. Diet, exercise, weight loss and possible insulin or other prescriptions are used to manage blood sugar levels.
Medical Malpractice in Diabetes Cases
Diabetes can be fatal if it is not managed properly. Mistakes regarding diagnosing and properly treating the disorder can lead to medical malpractice. For instance, in 2003 a nine-year-old boy died from diabetes complications. The boy’s father had called a pediatrician’s office after the boy had been ill for the previous three days, and was lethargic and disoriented. The nurse taking the call diagnosed the boy over the phone with having a viral infection and suggested (but did not insist) that the boy be taken to the emergency room. The boy died early the next morning after being taken to the hospital by emergency medical personnel. A subsequent laboratory test showed the boy had a blood glucose level of 1165 (normal range is 50 – 80) and a potassium level of 7.1 (normal range is 3.5 to 5.3). The boy’s father brought a medical malpractice suit against the nurse, arguing that she was negligent in failing to identify the boy’s symptoms as characteristic of a potentially life-threatening disorder and urging the father to take his son to the emergency room. The parties eventually settled the case for $1 million.
Numerous websites list warning signs and early symptoms of diabetes. If you have a family history of diabetes, or if you notice symptoms such as fatigue, extreme thirst, frequent urination, or blurred vision, visit with your doctor right away to see if you have diabetes. If left untreated, diabetes can be fatal.
If you or a loved one has been injured because a doctor failed to diagnose you with diabetes (or any other disease or disorder), or failed to treat you accordingly, contact us today at (508) 755-7535 for a free consultation. You may have a medical malpractice case in which you can recover damages.