Reviewed by Michael Dansinger on May 02, 2012

Sources

C. Ronald Kahn, MD - President / Director, Joslin Diabetes Center; Mary K Iacocca Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School. His discoveries in insulin signals/receptors revolutionized diabetes research.

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Video Transcript

Narrator: Why is the type 2 diabetes epidemic so dangerous?

C. Ronald Kahn, M.D.: The type two diabetes epidemic is really a major, major public health problem. I don't think we can over emphasize it enough. Not only is there more and more type-two diabetes in the United States and world wide but it's occurring in younger and younger people. So we are seeing more of it in young adults, in adolescents and even sometimes in children.

C. Ronald Kahn, M.D. (cont.): And as you think about type two diabetes you have to remember that the major problems with all forms of diabetes is the risk for long term complications. And of course those take 15, 20 - 25 years, sometimes more to show up.

C. Ronald Kahn, M.D. (cont.): If you develop a disease like type two-diabetes when you're 60 or 70 years old in 15 or 20 years you may have actually died from other problems. You may not live to see any of the complications. But if you're 15, 20 or 25 years old, you will be 40 or 45 years old and have 25 years of diabetes and be at risk for all these long term complications.

C. Ronald Kahn, M.D. (cont.): So when we think about the public health issue, we're going to really be faced with a problem that 10, 15 and 20 years from now, there will be a tremendous burden on both the people who have the disease and of course on the society to try to figure out health care for these people as they become at risk for these long term complications.