Currently, more than 18 million Americans have diabetes and are at risk for related complications like heart disease, stroke, blindness, amputations and kidney disease. On average, every 25 seconds, someone in the United States is diagnosed with diabetes. Diabetes rates are steadily increasing in America, and millions are unaware that they have the disease.
Yet these facts do not tell the whole story of the true impact that diabetes has on Americans. Diabetes touches millions of Americans and their families and friends in ways that are difficult if not impossible to measure. Diabetes and its complications seriously diminish the quality of life for individuals suffering from this disease. In order to reverse these trends, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has increased its efforts to address this health crisis.
I am proud to present our Diabetes: A National Plan for Action. This plan will help mobilize individuals, communities, businesses, and other organizations to address the rising rates of diabetes and its consequences. Many key stakeholders, such as government agencies, elected officials, public health experts, providers, professional organizations, and individuals impacted by diabetes, contributed to this document.
The document provides up-to-date and accurate prevention, detection and treatment information, and includes simple action steps for individuals, families, health practitioners, policy-makers, government officials, employers, others in the medical community and members of the media to address this growing public health problem. It also provides screening tools, information on other federal diabetes programs, and listings of federally funded resources. We hope that this document not only will be informative, but also will encourage all interested persons to work together to reduce the burden that diabetes imposes on our nation. Only by joining together can we overcome this public health threat and secure a healthier future for our children. No effort is too small, and no specialized training is required, to begin to improve your health or the health of your family or community.
I thank the many public and private health professionals who have pooled their talents to develop this document and for their tireless efforts in diabetes prevention, detection, and treatment.
Tommy G. Thompson