Hey, remember when everybody was freaking out about Ebola, because of an outbreak that killed more than 10,000 people? Well, diabetes kills 1.5 million people a year worldwide, more than 200,000 of them in the U.S. And you're probably never more than a few dozen feet away from someone who has it -- there are 30 million diabetics in the U.S. alone.
In other words, for something most people consider too boring to even think about, the scale of the epidemic is mind-boggling. The U.S. alone spends an astonishing quarter of a trillion dollars a year fighting it. Or to put it another way, diabetes sucks a thousand bucks out of every single man, woman and child in America, every year.
We previously debunked the myth that sugar causes diabetes, and when we talked to someone with one variety of the disease, we learned about the parts of the experience you never hear about. He says ...
The Disease And The Treatment Can Both Send You To The Emergency Room
Our diabetic, Zach, once woke up in the middle of the night starving, his legs feeling near-paralyzed. His memory of the incident is hazy, but the next thing he knew, he was on a kitchen chair wearing only his boxers with an empty jar of raspberry jam on the table -- he'd eaten nearly the entire thing with his bare hands like fucking Winnie the Pooh.
Victor_69/iStock/Getty ImagesOh, bother.
When he tested his blood sugar, it was 45 (the normal level is between 80 and 100). Anything below 70 is hypoglycemia, yet even after eating an entire jar of what is essentially pure sugar, his blood sugar level was still near emergency levels. If we're being completely honest, it's remarkable that he ever even woke up to eat that jam. By all rights he should've died in his bed. So this shit can get serious, is what we're saying.
"Wait," you ask, "isn't diabetes that disease where you just can't eat sugar, and have to take insulin every once in a while?" Oh, if only it was that simple.
For starters, you might be mixing up two very different types of diabetes (more on that in a bit). And when diabetics who inject insulin get their dose wrong, things can get bad fast. These problems ("insulin-related hypoglycemia and errors") spark almost 100,000 emergency room visits a year (more visits than those related to all stimulants, including methamphetamine). A third of those visits require hospitalization, because despite how common and treatable it is, diabetes can still straight-up murder your sorry ass.
Medioimages/Photodisc/Digital Vision/Getty Images"Did you think 'death by chocolate' was just a fucking saying!?!"