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The Tragic Toll of Diabetes

The New York Times article, “Diabetes and Its Awful Toll Quietly Emerge as a Crisis,” showed the frightening magnitude of social, economic, physical, and emotional effects of diabetes. By focusing on the ravaging path of the disease in a particular state, community, and even a single hospital, it gives the reader a more personalized account of the disease rather than meaningless statistics. I think it is more powerful and relatable by offering personal stories combined with the concerned opinions of professionals calling diabetes in this country an “epidemic”. It is clear that diabetes is negatively impacting many aspects of society, including the health care system and the economy as a whole, on top of the hardships individuals with the disease face on a daily basis. However, considering the toll this disease is taking, it is remarkable how few resources have been devoted to prevention, research, and treatment.


In addition to the negative consequences set forth in the article, research has shown that diabetes can contribute to violent behavior. When blood sugar is low or there are problems with the metabolism of glucose, the brain is less able to control aggressive impulses. As the co-author of a study described in this article says, “this is the first study to find that boosting glucose levels can reduce actual aggressive behavior,” and that “there is a real correlation between diabetes and violence.” In a previous study, it was shown that states with higher diabetes rates have higher crime rates. While this is an example of correlation, and not necessarily causation, it is an interesting finding, and one that may make more sense in the context of this new study linking blood sugar to aggressive behavior.

This is another interesting article about the connection between diabetes and violence that shows how children who suffer from abuse are more likely to get Type 2 Diabetes in adulthood.


One response to “The Tragic Toll of Diabetes

  1. Suzanne Johnson ⋅

    I was shocked reading the New York Times article on the various detrimental effects that diabetes can have on a person or population. When I read statements like, “diabetes is the principal reason adults go blind,” or “some 70 percent of lower-limb amputations in 2003 were performed on diabetics,” I couldn’t believe that so few resources are devoted to diabetes research. It is interesting that you look at the correlation between diabetes (low blood sugar levels) and aggression. The research outlined in the articles you cited provide further evidence that the underlying causes of diabetes need to be looked into in far greater depth so that we can better prevent problems like violence, blindness, or amputation. Thanks for sharing this valuable information Kaela!

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