November 26, 2019 - Issue: Vol. 165, No. 189 — Daily Edition116th Congress (2019 - 2020) - 1st Session
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 [www.gpo.gov] NATIONAL DIABETES AWARENESS MONTH ______ 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 stroke. 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 diabetes. 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. ____________________