Diabetes, a growing and deadly disease

CREATED Nov 25, 2013

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BROOKFIELD - It's one of the deadliest diseases out there.

"26 million people in the United States have diabetes," said Susan Hjelsund, of the American Diabetes Association.  "Is it an epidemic? Absolutely."

There are two types of diabetes: Type 1: an auto immune disease, and Type 2: where the person struggles to control blood glucose levels, and in many cases, struggles with obesity.  The majority of Americans have Type 2 and many don't even know it.

"7 million people don't realize they have diabetes," Hjelsund explained.  "They're not diagnosed."

Jeff Cole is among the millions with Type 2.

"Diabetes doesn't just run in my family, it gallops," Cole joked.  "My grandmother had it, my father had it, my brother had it, and my son has it."

Cole, who lost his brother to the disease, admits he gets frustrated when people don't take care of themselves.

"It shortens your life.  There's no doubt about it," he said bluntly.  "You can lead a perfectly normal life, you just need to be a little more careful."

"At my age, I need to do that anyway."