When more than 13,000 top scientists, physicians and other health care professionals convened during the American Diabetes Association’s 72nd Scientific Sessions, they shared cutting edge research, treatment recommendations and advances toward a cure for diabetes.
“Right now this deadly disease strikes 26 million people in this country, and of that 26 million, about seven million people don’t even know they have it, and we need to help them change their future. We want people to understand that they can do something to improve their life,” said Larry Hausner, CEO, American Diabetes Association at an event held to kick off Stop Diabetes Week.
“Recent estimates project that as many as one in three Americans by the year 2050 will have diabetes if things don’t change. Well, we need to take steps to change things — because that future is just unacceptable.”
According to the ADA, an additional 79 million people have pre-diabetes, which puts them at risk for developing Type 2 diabetes.
“We really want to make sure that we do things so that those who have pre-diabetes can do something to stop themselves from getting this disease or delay getting this disease, because there are some really harsh complications that can come from getting this disease such heart disease, kidney failure, blindness, stroke, amputation and death.”
Studies have shown that Type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed by losing seven percent of body weight through healthy eating and regular exercise — 30 minutes a day, five days a week.
The primary risk factors for diabetes are obesity, age, and having a family history of diabetes. African Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, Native Americans, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are at an increased risk, as are women who have had gestational diabetes or had babies weighing more than nine pounds at birth.
The ADA hosted a Diabetes Day to educate Philadelphia’s hospitality workers about the disease. The educational sessions began what organizers hope will become an annual tradition of Diabetes Day programs for hospitality workers in the cities hosting Scientific Sessions each year.
Prior to the opening of the ADA conference, the Harold Hamm Diabetes Center (HHDC) at the University of Oklahoma announced the establishment of the Harold Hamm International Prize for Biomedical Research in Diabetes.
HHDC, a comprehensive center integrating novel research, world-class patient care and large-scale prevention programs, will award and administer the $250,000 prize to recognize and promote lasting achievements in diabetes research.
The launch announcement was made by David L. Boren, president of the University of Oklahoma and Harold G. Hamm, chairman and chief executive officer of Continental Resources, Inc., who both have Type 2 diabetes and are passionate about diabetes research and care.
“We can no longer ignore the growing global epidemic that is having a devastating impact on young and old alike, and costing health systems worldwide billions of dollars each year,” said Boren.
“At the Harold Hamm Diabetes Center, we are on a mission to find a cure for diabetes and provide those suffering from the disease with dramatically improved clinical care. Our doctors are dedicated and focused on this mission and the establishment of the Harold Hamm International Prize for Biomedical Research in Diabetes will help us extend our reach to support and recognize others who share our passion.”
The ADA’s Scientific Sessions, which convened June 8–12, is this year’s largest convention held in Philadelphia. According to the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau, the convention drew 17,000 attendees and generated an economic impact of $59 million.