To the Editor:

There are presently 30-plus million Americans diagnosed with diabetes; another 84 million are considered to be in the pre-diabetic stage.

In 2012, the cost of diabetes was a staggering $245 billion (includes lost wages, work time and medical). That figure reflects an increase of $71 billion since 2007.

An article in the Austin American Statesman reports that the price of insulin increased threefold between 2002 and 2013.

A $25 bottle of insulin now can cost up to $300 because of a tiny alteration in its DNA that can make it work faster or slower. It’s an outrageous increase if one considers that it has been around for 20 years and there has never been a decrease in insulin pricing.

The reason? A complicated supply chain where every player tries to maximize earnings.

“Old” insulin, however, is effective and much, much cheaper. There are 7 million Americans who must inject themselves daily (in some cases, more often). Congressional lawmakers are probing the multimillion-dollar market. Endocrinologists are also trying to go back to older forms of insulin to benefit patients.

Diabetes tends to be more prevalent among African Americans, Hispanics and Native Americans, to include Alaska natives.

One in four diabetics do not know they have the disease. I’m familiar with the damaging effects of diabetes, although there was a positive aspect to my story.

My spouse of 55 years, and a diabetic since the age of 40, suffered kidney failure around the year 1997. She was placed on dialysis (a procedure that removes impurities from the body) three times a week for 4½ hours.

Thank God a donor was found that matched perfectly. The transplant was done at Scott & White Medical Center in 1999 and lasted until January 2013, at which time it failed.

Nevertheless, it lasted 14 years!

My children and I will forever be grateful to the surgeon and the operating room team that performed the operation.

All of my wife’s siblings (four) died of complications from diabetes, as did her father.

A sedentary life, coupled with obesity, do not in any way, shape or form help to keep diabetes away.

My eldest son and daughter are both diabetics, but thankfully, under control.

P.C. Santiago

retired master sergeant


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