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Randy Jackson Takes Aim at Diabetes
Date:10/4/2007

American Idol judge is part of a campaign to stress the disease's link to heart disease

THURSDAY, Oct. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Five years ago, Randy Jackson was sitting pretty.

An acclaimed rock musician and record producer, he was about to rocket to fame as one of the judges on Fox television's soon-to-be monster hit American Idol.

Then he was blindsided with the diagnosis that he had type 2 diabetes.

Today, with his disease under control, Jackson wants to alert others to the threat of this often silent illness -- and its potentially fatal link to heart disease.

"Diabetes snuck up on me. I didn't know I had it, and it was a huge wake-up call to get my health together," said Jackson, who has since lost 110 pounds and improved his diet. He also exercises regularly and monitors his diabetes with regular visits to the doctor.

Diabetes affects approximately 21 million Americans, and almost one-third of those who have it don't know it, according to the American Heart Association. Heart disease is the leading cause of death from type 2 diabetes -- the most common form of the disease -- so diagnosis and treatment carry a special urgency.

"Heart disease is the number one complication of diabetes, but there is a big awareness issue," said Dr. Stephen Clement, an endocrinologist and diabetes specialist at Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, D.C. "Patients think blindness, kidney problems and amputations are the biggest complications of diabetes. But physicians know that of all those, heart disease is the most prevalent complication."

To clear up these misconceptions, Jackson has joined with the American Heart Association and Takeda Pharmaceuticals North America in a program called The Heart of Diabetes. With the launch this week of its own Web site, the initiative is designed to encourage people to pay attention to possible diabetes symptoms so that if th
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