The numbers above testify to the epidemic nature of diabetes, making this chronic disease a major public health crisis as much as a personal medical condition. By one estimate, the incidence of diabetes will nearly double in the next 25 years, reaching more than 44 million people.
But the numbers tell only part of the story.
Because the disease develops gradually, many people who have the condition donít know they have it. The Centers for Disease Control estimates that nearly
six million people in the U.S. have diabetes but donít know it, and in Massachusetts, the State Department of Public Health estimates that 115,000 residents are unaware of their condition. Moreover,
nearly one in five adults in the state are either diabetic or pre-diabetic.
The patients keep getting younger. Diabetes has risen 50 percent among middle-school students and 38 percent among high-school students, just within the last five years, according to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.
And the disease is one of the nationís costliest. The total annual cost of diabetes in the U.S., including direct and indirect medical costs and lost productivity, approaches $220 billion, more than twice the cost of all cancers combined.
In an effort to raise awareness about this disease - one of the nationís biggest, fastest-growing, and costliest health problems - the Massachusetts Medical Society, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, and Hopkinton Community Television have collaborated to produce
Diabetes: Chronic Epidemic, a one-hour special presentation of the Medical Societyís monthly patient educational program, Physician Focus.
Diabetes: Chronic Epidemic is designed as a basic primer on the disease, describing the types and causes of diabetes, its prevalence and impact, how patients can live with the condition, and how the disease is treated. The program brings together experts in diabetes and public health and discusses in patient-friendly language information about the major aspects of this chronic disease and Ė most important - what patients
need to know about the condition.
Guests for the show are John Auerbach, Massachusetts Commissioner of Public Health;
David Harlan, M.D., Chief of Diabetes and Director of the Diabetes Center of Excellence at the University of Massachusetts Memorial Medical Center in Worcester, Mass.;
Stuart Chipkin, M.D., Director of the Diabetes Program for Valley Medical Group in Amherst, Mass. and Medical Consultant for the Massachusetts Department of Public Healthís Diabetes Prevention and Control Program; and
Judith Pentedemos, F.N.P., C.D.E., Family Nurse Practitioner and Certified Diabetes Educator at Nashoba Valley Medical Center in Ayer, Mass. and President-Elect of Diabetes Educators Educating Massachusetts, a chapter of the American Association of Diabetes Educators, whose goals are to set standards for diabetes education and improve the quality of care for people with the disease.
From left: John Auerbach, Massachusetts
Public Health Commissioner; Bruce Auerbach, M.D.; David Harlan,
From left: Judith Pentedemos, F.N.P., C.D.E.; Bruce Karlin, M.D.; Stuart Chipkin, M.D.
To bring added perspective and insight to the discussion, the program is hosted by two physicians:
Bruce Auerbach, M.D., 2008-2009 President of the Massachusetts Medical Society and Vice President of Emergency and Ambulatory Services at Sturdy Memorial Hospital in Attleboro, Mass., and
Bruce Karlin, M.D., a primary care physician in Worcester, Mass. and Vice Chair of the Massachusetts Medical Societyís Communications Committee.
In addition to discussion by the experts, the one-hour presentation also includes a list of resources on diabetes and two public service announcements recorded by guests in the show.
The PSAs are suitable for broadcast independent of the program and may be viewed separately on this web page above.
Diabetes: Chronic Epidemic is the third special presentation on a major health issue collaboratively produced by the Massachusetts Medical Society, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, and Hopkinton Community Television. The two previous shows, on obesity and the flu, are still available for viewing online at