This month, the Archives of Dermatology joins JAMA (April 15) and many of its sister AMA Archives Journals in emphasizing the problems faced by people with diabetes mellitus (DM) and its comorbidities as they relate to each specialty. Thus, JAMA and the specialty journals serve to remind us that the entire house of medicine is joined by our concern with the general medical and surgical problems occasioned by DM.
Diabetes mellitus represents both a public health and medical success and a self-induced societal burden. The ability to keep young persons with DM alive allows them to reproduce, increasing the gene pool that determines the propensity for DM and resulting in more people with DM in future generations. In addition, our ability to keep people alive longer with little need to work hard physically contributes to the large and increasing numbers of people with adult-onset DM. According to a 2007 study by the American Diabetes Association,1 approximately 17.5 million people in the United States are diagnosed as having DM. The annual economic cost of DM in 2007 was $174 billion, which means that about 20% of US health care dollars are now spent caring for someone with DM.
Eaglstein WH, Callen JP. Dermatologic Comorbidities of Diabetes Mellitus and Related Issues. Arch Dermatol. 2009;145(4):467-469. doi:10.1001/archdermatol.2009.31