Why Paula Deen’s Diabetes is Your Problem Too

Did y’all see Paula Deen’s interview with Al Roker today on Today? The deep-fat fried food queen talked about having type 2 diabetes for the past three years. She delayed telling us until she could “bring something to the table.” That something is a big fat contract with Novo Nordisk, where Paula and her sons will front a program to help people with diabetes manage the condition. When Al asked Paula if she had changed her diet, she said, “I’ve always eaten in moderation.” Gag me with a spoon.

Chaching

Y’all oughta know that you are paying for Paula Deen’s diabetes. Since she qualifies for Medicare when she turns 65 day after tomorrow, we taxpayers are footing her bill. And what a bill it is!  A person with diagnosed diabetes incurs average yearly medical expenses of $11,744. That’s about 2.3 times more than what is spent by a person without diabetes.  In 2007, the cost of diagnosed diabetes was $174 billion, but when you add the cost of undiagnosed diabetes, prediabetes and gestational diabetes, the bill reaches $218 billion a year.* It comes from doctor visits, diagnostic tests, blood work, medications, devices, therapies, hospitalizations, and days lost from work. To get a sense of $218,000,000,000,000, start counting one number per second without stopping for 373 years. Whoops! It’s a new year – time to start counting again.

Back Up

The good news is that this waste of money can be prevented. Have you heard that genetics loads the gun but environment pulls the trigger?  Well, a good diet and exercise alone can prevent diabetes in genetically susceptible people, but a good diet and exercise can also reverse prediabetes and new type 2 diabetes (without Novo Nordisk’s drugs.)  Read my article for Diets in Review, Diabetes is Not a Life Sentence, to understand how it works. If you have prediabetes or type 2 diabetes, call me, do not call Paula Deen.

Your thoughts: What should Americans do about lifestyle-based medical bills?

* Data from the 2011 National Diabetes Fact Sheet, American Diabetes Association