My father died at age 58 from complications of Type 2 diabetes when I was still in high school. Following his diagnosis, he developed chronic kidney disease, lost two toes to amputation and faced heart challenges that ultimately led to his passing. Because of my family history, my doctor is concerned about my own diabetes lab values and talks to me regularly about the disease.
In my work life, I interact with groups of dedicated Utahns trying to support and help patients with diabetes. The Larry H. & Gail Miller Family Foundation donated $5.3 million to the University of Utah health care system last year on World Diabetes Day to help prevent the growth of diabetes in our state. Larry H. Miller, former owner of the Utah Jazz, died in 2009 from complications related to Type 2 diabetes. A few years ago, HealthInsight worked with the Miller family and the Utah Department of Health to produce a heartfelt TV commercial that aired for six months.
Type 2 diabetes is a difficult and costly disease to treat. Though it typically develops after age 40, it has recently begun to appear with more frequency in the younger population. Those with a Type 2 diabetes diagnosis manage their disease through a combination of treatments, including diet, exercise, self-monitoring of blood glucose, and in some cases, medication. Most health problems resulting from the condition can be lessened or avoided altogether, which is why education is key to prevention, reduction and improvement in quality of life.