August 20, 2008

Environmental Arsenic Exposure and Diabetes

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Department of Environmental Health, Environmental and Occupational Medicine and Epidemiology Program, Harvard University School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts.

JAMA. 2008;300(7):845-846. doi:10.1001/jama.300.7.845

Type 2 diabetes mellitus emerged as a pandemic in the later half of the 20th century. In the United States alone, diabetes affects an estimated 7.8% of the US population (24 million individuals) and its prevalence is projected to almost double in the next 25 years.1,2 The complications associated with diabetes including cardiovascular disease, retinopathy, nephropathy, neuropathy, and lower limb amputation profoundly affect the quality of life and contribute to the high morbidity and mortality associated with this disease. Diabetes is ranked as the seventh leading cause of death in the United States in 20062; the economic costs of diabetes are also high. Approximately $1 of every $10 in US health care expenditures can be attributed to the direct costs associated with diabetes.3 When indirect costs to caregivers are included, it is estimated that the annual cost of diabetes in the United States is $174 billion.3

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