Unfortunately, it often takes a high-profile personality getting ill to crystallize concern about a disease. On the plus side, however, that awareness and initiative usually do kick in.
Such seems to be the case with the news that Utah Jazz owner Larry H. Miller was recently hospitalized for type 2 diabetes. Miller may not have monitored the warning signs of diabetes well, but now the word about those signs is getting out so others will.
Few know, for instance, that type 2 diabetes is at epidemic proportions. Seven percent of the nation's population suffers from the disease, according to the American Diabetes Association. But the disease is manageable, if people will follow three simple rules:
Know your family history. A simple check with relatives and other family members can show a propensity for the illness. That leads to becoming educated and quite often controlling the disease.
Monitor food intake. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of the disease. It occurs when the body does not produce enough insulin. Eating right and watching one's weight can short-circuit problems and lead to a normal life.
Exercise. Having a strong body means the organs function better. It also means if there are problems, the body will be better able to fend for itself and recuperate.
Failure to follow those three "tips" can lead to blindness, heart attack and nerve and kidney damage.
Now, more than ever, the choice is obvious.
As for Miller, his tremendous drive made him successful when it comes to wealth, but not when it comes to health. He has always put other people, other causes and other concerns ahead of himself. Now he finds himself in a situation where if he doesn't take care of himself, he won't be able to take care of the other things he loves. That fact is already sounding a wake-up call for other Utahns who find themselves marching along the same path.
What's needed for many people is a change in attitude and a change in behavior. The news of Miller's predicament may be enough to trigger those changes in the lives of others.