NATIONAL DIABETES AWARENESS MONTH; Congressional Record Vol. 165, No. 189
(Extensions of Remarks - November 26, 2019)

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[Extensions of Remarks]
[Pages E1510-E1511]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []



                           HON. MAXINE WATERS

                             of california

                    in the house of representatives

                       Tuesday, November 26, 2019

  Ms. WATERS. Madam Speaker, I am proud to join the American Diabetes 
Association and millions of doctors, nurses, health professionals, and 
concerned Americans to recognize American Diabetes Month.
  Diabetes remains the seventh leading cause of death in the United 
States. It effects more than 30 million Americans--seven million of 
whom are undiagnosed. By the end of this year, more than 40,000 people 
will be diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes--which is identified as the 
body's inability to produce insulin. Type 2 diabetes--which indicates a 
deficiency in the way the body uses insulin--remains the most common 
form of diabetes, and makes up more than 90 percent of all diabetes 
cases. In addition, 10 percent of all women develop gestational 
diabetes during pregnancy, which blocks a mother's ability to use 
insulin and can complicate the health of both the mother and the baby. 
Without proper treatment, diabetes can lead to serious and sometimes 
deadly complications, including heart disease, nerve damage, blindness, 
lower limb amputations, kidney failure, high blood pressure, and even 
  In my home state of California, more than 4 million people--
approximately 13 percent of the adult population in our state--have 
diabetes. What's worse, more than 1 million Californians have diabetes, 
but have not been tested and are unaware that they are living with the 
disease. An astounding 10 million Californians have prediabetes, which 
is a health condition where blood sugar levels are higher than normal, 
but are not high enough to be diagnosed as Type 2 diabetes. By the end 
of this year, 263,000 residents of our state will be newly diagnosed 
with diabetes.
  The troubling increase in the number of Americans living with 
diagnosed diabetes has also increased the overall economic costs of 
treating the disease. According to a 2018 American Diabetes Association 
report, in 2017 the cost for treating diabetes was an astounding $327 
billion. Americans diagnosed with diabetes had medical expenses that 
were 2.3 times higher than Americans without diabetes, and spent, on 
average, $9,600 on healthcare expenditures. That same report found that 
in the state of California, the overall cost of medical expenses and 
treatment of diabetes was $27 billion.
  For minority communities around the country, the risk of developing 
diabetes or suffering from complications of the disease is 
devastatingly heightened. Diabetes effects 15 percent of American 
Indians and Alaska natives, 13 percent of African Americans, 12 percent 
of Hispanics, and 8 percent of Asian Americans. Though they are most 
impacted and at risk of developing diabetes, it's no secret that 
minorities often lack access to quality health care, are more likely to 
have prediabetes, are more likely to suffer from complications of 
diabetes, and in some cases, are nearly twice as likely to die from 
  To this end, for many years, I have proudly authored and fought for 
support of H.R. 4550, the Minority Diabetes Initiative Act, which is 
supported by the American Diabetes Association and 60 of my House 
colleagues and fellow members of the Congressional Diabetes Caucus. My 
bill will provide grants to physicians and community-based 
organizations for diabetes prevention, care, and treatment programs in 
minority communities. It will also provide grants for a variety of 
diabetes-related health services, including public education on 
diabetes prevention and control, routine health care for diabetic 
patients, eye care, foot care, and treatment for kidney disease and 
other complications of diabetes.
  I am also a strong supporter of increased federal funding for 
diabetes programs at the National Institutes of Health and the Centers 
for Disease Control and Prevention, and have supported many legislative 
measures that ensure that Americans living with diabetes have the 
quality and affordable healthcare they deserve.
  During American Diabetes Month, and every month, we must continue to 
raise awareness of this disease and show our strong support for 
research, innovations, and healthcare services that improve the lives 
of the millions of Americans who are living with or at-risk of being 
diagnosed with this disease. Diabetes will continue to ravage our 
communities and lead to the premature death of Americans if we fail to 
act. While both genetic and environmental factors can contribute to the 
development of diabetes, it is imperative that every American 
regardless of their age, race, or geographic location get tested for 
diabetes, and speak with their doctors about actions they

[[Page E1511]]

can take to prevent or postpone the progression of the disease.
  I thank the millions of doctors, nurses, health professionals, and 
concerned Americans who are engaged in the fight against diabetes, and 
I am proud to continue to join with my colleagues in the Congressional 
Diabetes Caucus to do all that we can to develop and pass legislation 
that will aid in the treatment and prevention of this disease. 
Americans must get tested, get informed, and spread the word about the 
dangers of diabetes. The sooner we know, the sooner we can act to 
prevent or postpone the impact of this disease.