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Legislative Update: The Diabetes Epidemic in America


Location: Washington, DC

I am pleased to join millions of Americans across this country in recognizing November as American Diabetes Month. This disease has reached epidemic proportions in the United States. Nearly 26 million American children and adults live with this disease, including an estimated 240,000 Arkansans. And, another 79 million Americans are on the verge of having diabetes.

As we recognize American Diabetes Month this November, we should all take a moment to reflect on how this disease affects us all, adults as well as children.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in three children will face a future with diabetes if current trends continue. For minority children, the number approaches one in two. Every day, nearly 200 people with diabetes undergo an amputation, 120 people enter end-stage kidney disease programs and 55 people go blind from diabetes. Diabetes is also one of the leading causes of death and disability in the United States.

Since 1987, the death rate due to diabetes has increased by 45 percent, and sadly, diabetes remains the nation's seventh leading cause of death. This disease has a tremendous impact on our sons and daughters, our friends and spouses, and our parents and grandparents. That is why I have worked hard in the House of Representatives to bring together Democrats and Republicans in an effort to fight this devastating disease with the goal of eventually finding a cure once and for all.

I serve on the Congressional Diabetes Caucus which was organized in 1996. To date, this caucus has grown to be the largest in the Congress with more than 250 members. Our mission is to educate members of Congress and their staffs about diabetes and to support legislation that would improve diabetes research, education and treatment.

As we increase our nation's knowledge about diabetes, we will give people the power to prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes, as well as improve the care and treatment for those who suffer from all forms of this deadly disease.

As the facts illustrate, diabetes is relentless, debilitating and--without question--deadly. If left undiagnosed or untreated, the consequences of diabetes are far more serious than many people realize. American Diabetes Month is an opportunity for all of us to look at diabetes differently and to get involved in the fight against it. The most critical thing you can do is to take control of your own health and to encourage your families and your communities to do the same.

To learn more about diabetes and its complications and warning signs, please visit or call the American Diabetes Association at 1-800-DIABETES.

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