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Too Few Understand Diabetes' Dangers
Date:10/28/2008

Americans more fearful of shark bites than this common, potentially lethal disease, survey shows

TUESDAY, Oct. 28 (HealthDay News) -- While millions of Americans are at risk for developing diabetes, too few perceive the threat it can pose to their health, according to a new survey.

In fact, most respondents feared shark bites, plane crashes or cancer more, even though they are more likely to get diabetes, according to the pollsters.

"We undertook the survey because we are trying to better understand why people aren't taking diabetes as seriously as we need people to take this disease," said Ann Albright, director of the division of diabetes translation for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and a spokeswoman for the American Diabetes Association (ADA), which sponsored the survey.

While 49 percent of the more than 2,400 U.S. adults polled said they most feared cancer as a potential health problem, just 3 percent said they worried about diabetes. In fact, each disease has about the same number of expected new cases each year, more than a million annually.

Overall, one in 10 U.S. adults, or 10 percent, have been diagnosed with diabetes at some point in their lives, compared to 6 percent who have experienced cancer, the ADA says.

"Our point is not that people shouldn't be concerned about cancer," Albright said. "We are trying to help people put things in a more accurate perspective."

After cancer, respondents next feared heart disease, mentioned by 12 percent, and nervous system disorders, noted by 11 percent.

The online poll was conducted by Harris Interactive in August 2008.

Other answers in the survey also suggest that people's fears are not realistic. When asked to pick from a potential list of accidents, plane crashes topped the list, noted by 16 percent of respondents. That was followed by lighting strikes, feared by 5 percent, vehicle acci
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