TYLER, TX (KLTV) - The number of diabetics in our country is expected to double in the next 25 years. And, the cost to treat diabetes is anticipated to triple as people live longer and battle complications from the disease.
About two years ago, David Newkirk was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. It is a disease he was likely genetically predisposed to.
"My mother had Type 2 Diabetes and it eventually caused her to pass away from vascular dementia," said Newkirk.
Newkirk says his mother was misdiagnosed, and, if left untreated, diabetes can have serious consequences. Including kidney and heart disease, amputations, blindness, and even death.
Dr. Bryan Lowery, with Trinity Mother Frances Clinic of Tyler says the disease is draining our country.
"In the next five years, they predict 36-million people [will] have diabetes," said Dr. Lowery. "So, that's an enormous cost to our society. It's a huge burden to employers."
Dr. Lowery says the culprit is fast food, sugary sodas, stress and not enough exercise.
"Getting a heart transplant or heart surgery or having a stint or having a catheterization in the hospital is tens of thousands of dollars," said Dr. Lowery. "If people would exercise and eat correctly, we could avoid a lot of those costs."
If our lifestyles do not change, 44-million Americans are expected to be diabetic by 20-34.
"I think the cost is going to be enormous and I think that's probably one of the big things they're thinking about in health care cause a lot of these beneficiaries of medicare are diabetic now," said Dr. Lowery.
"I'm fortunate to have good insurance," said Newkirk. "If it wasn't for that, man, I don't know."
Newkirk says there is hope. He is buying better food, trying to lose weight and control his blood sugar.
"It's kind of a day to day battle," said Newkirk.
But one worth fighting out in the long run. Dr. Lowery says some of the first signs include fatigue and increased thirst and urination. He says if you have a family history of diabetes or high blood pressure, you should see a doctor and get screened.