Featured Column
Week of 11.1.2004
It quietly destroys and kills
          It creeps silently into millions of households around the world. It kills fathers, mothers, sons and daughters. This insidious killer tiptoes inside our homes, seeks out likely victims and attacks with relentless mute efficiency and then leaves its victims to suffer a lifetime of potential deterioration and danger. The economic damage that this merciless assassin costs Americans in a year is over 132 billion dollars.
          My sister has been attacked, my son and my favorite cousin each have been visited by this inaudible assailant. So far I have been spared a visit, but tomorrow or the next day I could be selected to suffer the debilitating effects of what over 18 million Americans endure.
           Of the over 18 million Americans with diabetes 13 million have been diagnosed, leaving over 5 million who have diabetes but have not yet been diagnosed or treated. . My sister, my son and my cousin didnít know they had diabetes. Fortunately they were diagnosed and treated in time for them to avoid the terrible consequences of the disease.
          Consider that you, a relative or friend of yours with untreated diabetes, could suffer from kidney disease, blindness, nerve damage, heart disease, blood vessel disease, amputations, sexual problems and early death.
           My son had to go to the hospital recently with a wound he sustained while horseback riding. The wound wouldnít heal properly due to his diabetes, so surgery was performed to promote the healing. During his diagnosis in the hospital it was found that his blood sugar count was alarmingly high. The dangers of the elevated blood sugar were so precarious that he was hospitalized for a few days until the count could be lowered. His life was at risk.
           His only symptom was the wound that wouldnít heal. There were no other symptoms apparent to him from his elevated blood sugar count, which was four times what it should be. And yet his life was at risk.
          Fortunately my son has altered his diet, takes his medication and gets daily exercise. With his dedication, good fortune and proper medical care he has a good chance of living a normal life with a normal life expectancy.
           A few years ago my sister was in the hospital, preparing for surgery. The medical team checked her blood sugar and immediately cancelled the operation due to the dangers of operating on a diabetic patient. They would not operate until her diabetic condition was improved. The perils of poor diabetic healing and recovery were too great.
           All over the world Ė except in the U.S.- diabetes death rates are falling. Men die of diabetes twice as often as women, but diabetes in women Ė for unexplained reasons Ė runs a greater chance of running a more severe course than in men. For example, women are at greater risk for diabetes-associated heart disease and blindness compared with men.
           My cousin, a husky, athletic guy was recently diagnosed as having diabetes. The diagnosis uncovered some liver damage due to the disease. Heís on medication and his daily program is to get exercise and stay on a proper diet that will help to alleviate the effects of the disease.
          Diabetes robs men, women and children of their eyesight, boosts their risk of heart disease and stroke. If you are one of those who believe that diabetes is only a concern of older age, consider this Ė diabetes cases among 30-somethings jumped by 76 percent over the last 10 years.
          My son, sister and cousin, by adhering to their healthy regimen, should be able to lead long and productive lives. They are three of the fortunate ones. They found out early that they had diabetes. There are millions of Americans out there who have diabetes and donít know it. Some will die, some will lose their eyesight, others will have one or more of their arms and legs amputated. Some will contract heart disease, others will suffer kidney failure.
          Donít be proud, donít be stubborn and donít think that diabetes happens to ďthe other guy.Ē If you havenít been checked for diabetes lately Ė do it now.
          You may have diabetes and not know it. Scary, isnít it?

*Be careful with those Halloween candies. The sugar in them isnít going to do any of us any good Ė especially for those people with diabetes or with tendencies to contract diabetes.
      Ron was born in the Bronx, New York. He was raised in Southern California and lived in Honolulu, Hawaii for three decades. He attended Inglewood High School and U.C.L.A.. His youthful goal was to become a major league baseball player. In Hawaii Ron played on a series of championship softball teams. He is an active tennis player.
      Ronís career began at the Inglewood Daily News where as a youngster was enrolled in a publisher training program. He served as an advertising salesman, circulation manager, writer and layout and design staffer. He has been a newspaper publisher at the Oregon City Oregon Enterprise Courier, the Beloit Wisconsin Daily News, the Elizabeth, New Jersey Daily Journal and This Week Magazines (Hawaii).
      Ron lives with his wife, Marilyn, in San Diego, California. His two children, Douglas and Diane also live in the San Diego area. Ronís interests range far and wide and are reflected in his columns diverse topics.
Ron Cruger