Diabetes: Fighting the epidemic the way public health has fought HIV
In the U.S. and other high-income countries, diabetes is a good news, bad news scenario. On one hand, people who have diabetes today fare better than they did 20 years ago. They are living longer and suffering fewer complications, such as heart disease, kidney disease, amputations, strokes, and blindness.
On the other hand, more people are developing diabetes than experts even projected, with some 29 million people in the U.S. living with the disease today. One in four people with diabetes remains unaware and almost 90 percent with prediabetes don't know their blood sugar is elevated. And the drop in complications is not enjoyed equally. Minorities, people with low incomes, and younger adults tend to suffer more than their white, affluent, and older counterparts.
"We have gotten very good at caring for and controlling diabetes, but we are lagging in prevention," says K.M. Venkat Narayan, Ruth and O.C. Hubert Professor of Global Health. "The science is there. We know exercise, a healthy diet, and weight loss are extremely effective in preventing diabetes in people at high risk, but we haven't been able to figure out how to translate and scale up the implementation of that knowledge into population-wide interventions that work. We also need to find ways to improve outcomes for disenfranchised populations."
Narayan and his team will be tackling these issues through the newly established Georgia Center for Diabetes Translation Research. The center is funded by a grant from National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases that was awarded to a partnership of Emor Continue reading