Washington Post Columnist David Broder was considered one of a kind when it comes to covering national politics but he was one in 10.9 million when it comes to the number of Americans 65 and older who have diabetes.
The Pulitzer Prize winner's death Wednesday, March 9, 2011 from "complications from diabetes" shows that no one is immune from diabetes or the collateral damage to the body it causes.
And it's this collateral damage that usually is the cause when someone dies from "complications from diabetes." But, what does that all-encompassing statement truly mean?
"There are so many ways diabetes can lead to death it's hard to know what happened to David Broder, or anyone else, unless a more specific cause is named," says UAB endocrinologist Fernado Ovalle, M.D. "And, it is not uncommon for someone to suffer from more than one deadly complication of diabetes."
Ovalle said some of the most common complications directly attributed to diabetes that can lead to death include
diabetic ketoacidosis - when the body cannot use sugar as fuel and uses fat instead. The byproducts of the fat, ketones, are poisonous
hyperglycemic hyperosmolar non-ketotic state - when they body tries to rid itself of excess sugar through urine, causing frequent urination, that can result in dehydration, seizures, coma and death
hypoglycemia - when blood glucose levels are too low and lead to seizures, coma and death
sepsis- severe infection from a lower extremity ulcer
peripheral vascular disease - leading to gangrene of lower extremities