Obesity, Diabetes and Organ Failure

Each year thousands of people die because of a lack of organs for transplantation.  Current efforts to increase the supply of organs are woefully inadequate.  The altruistic method (becoming a donor out of the goodness of ones heart) simply doesn’t work well enough.  Fewer than fifty percent of Americans are organ donors.  It does not look like the altruistic approach is going to change any time soon so we must explore every possibility. 


One way of increasing the supply of organs for transplant is to reduce the demand and that can be done in part by changing lifestyles.  Some of the causes of organ failure are preventable.  This blog will focus on two contributors to the rising need for organs; obesity and diabetes.  Both could be far better controlled than they are currently simply by eating properly and exercising regularly.


Let’s talk obesity, the second leading cause of unnecessary death in America.   According to the American Obesity Association (AOA).  http://obesity1.tempdomainname.com/subs/fastfacts/obesity_what2.shtml   Approximately 127 million adults in the U.S. are overweight, 60 million obese, and 9 million severely obese   Obesity is a disease that affects nearly one-third of the adult American population (approximately 60 million). The number of overweight and obese Americans has continued to increase since 1960, a trend that is not slowing down. Today, 64.5 percent of adult Americans (about 127 million) are categorized as being overweight or obese. Each year, obesity causes at least 300,000 excess deaths in the U.S., and healthcare costs of American adults with obesity amount to approximately $100 billion.  


Fox news quoted a Web MD report  http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,215604,00.html that says nine out of ten obese people develop type 2 diabetes and while obesity does not cause diabetes, research shows the two are closely related.                      

Net Wellness (http://www.netwellness.org/healthtopics/diabetes/faq3.cfm) defines diabetes as the inability of glucose to enter the cells. The result is that the bloodstream has a high amount of glucose and cells are not able to produce energy for the body. When diabetes is not carefully managed by keeping the amount of sugar in the blood at the right level, the resulting high glucose amounts wreak havoc on nearly every organ system in the body.  The report goes on to say that as many as 65% of people diagnosed with diabetes will eventually die of a heart attack or a stroke and nearly 1 in 3 diabetics will experience kidney failure. For more information on diabetes visit the National Diabetes Education Program Website at: http://www.diabetes.niddk.nih.gov/dm/pubs/type1and2/what.htm

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) offers comprehensive information on diabetes prevention and the value of proper nutrition and exercise along with symptoms of disease http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-prevention/how-to-prevent-diabetes.jsp

While I will continue to work to develop other methods of increasing the supply of transplantable organs, all of us should take every measure to prevent diseases that can affect our organs.  As in most cases prevention is the best cure for organ failure. 

Please comment in the space provided or email your thoughts to me at bob@baronson.org.  And – spread the word about the immediate need for more organ donors.  On-line registration can be done at http://www.donatelife.net/index.php  Whenever you can, help people formally register.  There is nothing you can do that is of greater importance.  If you convince one person to be a donor you may save or positively affect over 50 lives.  Some of those lives may be people you know and love.  

You are also invited to join Organ Transplantation Initiative (OTI) http://www.facebook.com/#!/group.php?gid=152655364765710 a group dedicated to providing help and information to donors, donor families, transplant patients and families, caregivers and all other interested parties.  Your participation is important if we are to influence decision makers to support efforts to increase organ donation and support organ regeneration, replacement and research efforts.   

About Bob Aronson

Bob Aronson is a former journalist, a Minnesota Governor's Press Secretary and talk show host. For nearly a quarter of a century, he led the Aronson Partnership, a Minnesota-based communications consultancy that prepared corporate and government executives for crisis situations, regulatory testimony, media interviews and Presentations. Among his clients were all three U.S. Mayo Clinic locations, 3M, general Mills, CH2M Hill, the U.S. Department of Energy and scores more. In 2007 bob had a heart transplant after suffering from idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy for 12 years. Shortly after he got his new heart he founded the now 4,300 member Facebook support group, Organ Transplant Initiative. At the same time, he established the Bob's Newheart blog where he has posted nearly 300 columns on organ donation, transplantation and other health related issues. The Viewpoint blog was started in late 2016 and bears the name of the Radio Talk show Bob did from 1966 until 1974, when he resigned to become Minnesota Governor Rudy Perpich first Press secretary. Bob and his artist wife Robin, live in Jacksonville, Florida with their two dogs, Reilly and Ziggy. Bob is also a woodworker and makes all of the furnishings for Robin's art festival booth. He also makes one of a kind jewelry or "memories" boxes that he donates to select transplant patients, caregivers, donor families and others who have somehow contributed to making life easier for the ill, the elderly and the less fortunate. Bob is in the final stages of editing two full-length novels that will be available on Kindle when ready for release sometime in early 2017. One is a sci fi novel about an amazing discovery near Roswell, New Mexico and you will be surprised to find it has nothing to do with the Roswell story everyone knows. It features a woman scientist who investigates impact craters for the U.S. Department of the Interior, Dr. Rita Sylvester and her female student intern. The other book is a political thriller that introduces a new hero to the genre, Fargo Dennison.

Posted on April 20, 2009, in Transplant prevention. Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.

  1. The Diabetes & Obesity Partnership – Understand and Act on Them
    Did you know that Diabetes and Obesity are partners?
    Did you know that Weight Control Helps Diabetes Control?
    Did you know that Diabetes Control Makes a Big Difference?
    Here’s why I say that Diabetes and Obesity usually go together: (1) About 9 out of every 10 adults who develop diabetes, which is usually Type 2 Diabetes, are obese, (2) When people with Type 2 Diabetes, which is the most common kind, are obese and lose weight, it is easier to control their diabetes. When Diabetes is controlled, there is much less chance of developing serious complications of the disease, which can include:
    • Eye Disease
    • Kidney Failure
    • Heart Disease
    • Stroke
    • Erectile Dysfunction
    • Nerve Damage
    • Vascular Disease
    Prevent Obesity or Lose Weight to Help Control Diabetes
    There’s something called the ENERGY BALANCE FORMULA that’s the basic way to keep from getting obese. We at Health Power use a slightly modified formula that means the same thing. Ours is the CALORIE Balance FORULA. No matter which name you want to use, it’s what you do that matters. In fact, using the formula can also keep a person from becoming overweight, and that’s also important because many people who are overweight end up becoming obese.
    • The basic ENERGY BALANCE FORMULA is:
    ENERGY (or Calories) IN = ENERGY (or Calories) OUT.
    In other words, a person has to get rid of as much energy as he or she takes in.

    • The Health Power CALORIE BALANCE FORMULA is:
    In other words, a person has to routinely do enough physical activity daily to burn off the number of calories that he or she takes in daily.
    For More Information about Diabetes and Obesity:
    1. Visit the Diabetes and Obesity Sections of the Health Power website, at http://www.healthpowerforminorities.com .
    2. Check out the Weight Control and Diabetes Tip Sheets on the website.
    3. Try solving the Diabetes Crossword Puzzle on the website.
    Be sure to share your experiences and suggestions related to Controlling Diabetes and Obesity.

    By Norma J. Goodwin, M.D.
    Founder, President & CEO
    Health Power for Minorities


  2. Подписался на RSS, буду следить =)


  3. полностью поддерживаю, такие же мысли были.


  4. Так зачитался, что пропустил любимую передачу)


  5. Love this blog I’ll be back when I have more time.


  6. This blog’s where its happenning. Keep up the good work.


  7. I wish I could write this well! great blog thanks.


  8. Bob,
    Thank you for this post. This is very consistent with a project we are working on to increase organ donation in the African-American community in Twin Cities. We are training barbers to talk to their clients about donationrelated health issues such as obesity, diabetes, etc. with the overall goal of the project to improve the health of the community. Hopefully we can prevent some people from ever needing a transplant.
    Sometimes I think we forget that not only do we need to increase donation, but we also need to decrease the need for transplant. Thank you for emphasizing this in your blog.


  9. I’m a kidney transplant recipient, and my husband and I were just talking about how when we go to transplant clinic, the majority of the recipients in the waiting room are overweight. I can’t imagine how many less kidney transplant there would be if people would learn to live healthier. Thanks for this post.


  10. Geoff Rutledge

    Hi Bob,

    I’m a physician and former faculty member at Harvard and Stanford Medical Schools. I discovered your blog while looking for the best health writers on the web. I reviewed your posts, and think your writing would be a great addition to the General Medicine Community on Wellsphere, a top 5 health website that has nearly 5 million visitors monthly. If you would like to learn more about how you can join our Health Blogger Network, republish your blog posts and be featured on the Wellsphere platform, just drop me an email at dr.rutledge@wellsphere.com.



  11. Hi nice blog 🙂 I can see a lot of effort has been put in.


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