Money and health...
As the calendar flips over to a new year, these two areas of our lives tend to become a focal point for improvement. On the money side of things, we assess our financial house and set goals (read resolutions) to pay down debt, save more, increase income, and reevaluate our retirement strategy.
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On the health side of the equation, we want to lose weight, eat healthier, and build muscle. Gym memberships typically skyrocket this time of year, diet books are sold out, and health-monitoring devices fly off the shelves.
It's no surprise that these are the two areas that receive the most attention. After all, household debt totaled $13.5 trillion at the end of last year's third quarter -- an all-time high. When looking only at credit card debt, student, auto, and personal loans, that figure stood at nearly $4 trillion, surpassing the previous high-water mark set in the fourth quarter of 2008 of $2.7 trillion.
Switching to healthcare, it's easy to see why losing weight and eating healthier are at the top of many people's lists... obesity is a common and serious problem in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), obesity affects roughly 40% of adults in America. The estimated annual medical cost of obesity in the United States is more than $147 billion. Obese individuals tend to have medical costs that are nearly $1,500 more per year than those of normal weight.
There's just no way to sugar-coat it: The health problems associated with obesity are life-threatening. Obesity-related conditions include heart disease, stroke, certain types of cancer and one that sets the stage for two of my most recent Maximum Profit picks... diabetes.
A Public Health Crisis
Diabetes is typically classified into two major groups: Type 1 and Type 2.
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disorder that usually develops during childhood. Those with Type 1 diabetes must rely on frequent insulin injections in order to regulate and maintain blood glucose levels.
Type 2 diabetes is a metabolic disorder -- usually due to poor health and obesity – in which the body is unable to produce sufficient amounts of insulin or becomes insulin resistant. Depending on the severity of Type 2 diabetes, individuals may require diet and nutrition management, exercise, oral medications or insulin injections to regulate blood glucose levels.
Diabetes is a growing epidemic. Every 21 seconds someone in the United States is diagnosed with the malady. It affects 30 million children and adults. Some 84 million Americans have higher-than-normal blood sugar levels, a condition known as pre-diabetes, and are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes.
The health-care costs are huge, standing at roughly $327 billion in the United States alone.
Diabetes is a life-threatening disease. Every seven seconds one person dies from diabetes, according to the International Diabetes Foundation. It's the primary cause of kidney failure and can also cause blindness, stroke, heart attack, amputations... the list goes on.
What's more, this isn't only a problem in the United States. In 2017, approximately 425 million adults worldwide were living with diabetes. That number is expected to increase to 629 million by 2045.
The trend is unmistakable.
But before we talk about the two stocks my system has flagged in this space, it's important to understand just exactly what diabetes is and how it affects the body.
Diabetes is a chronic, life-threatening disease for which there is no known cure. It's caused by the body's inability to produce or effectively utilize the hormone insulin. This inability prevents the body from properly regulating blood glucose levels, which are the primary source of energy for cells. Glucose levels must be maintained in order to permit optimal cell function and health.
Normally, it's the job of the pancreas to control blood glucose levels by secreting insulin. People with diabetes must constantly monitor their glucose levels and inject insulin if blood glucose levels become too high. However, insulin can cause blood glucose levels to fall below the normal range, resulting in hypoglycemia. That's a condition that can exhibit symptoms such as trembling or sweating in the early stages and diabetic shock in more extreme instances.
It's this constant battle to maintain optimal blood glucose levels that those affected with diabetes must face daily. Fortunately, technology has improved -- and made easier -- the monitoring of glucose levels, as well as the administration of insulin, as these two stock picks demonstrate.
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Crisis = Opportunity
With the rise of diabetes growing at an alarming rate, it comes as no surprise that the global drug market for diabetes has also seen rapid growth. And as I mentioned, my Maximum Profit system just recently zeroed in on two companies in this space.
Unfortunately, I can't share the names of these picks with you today. It just wouldn't be fair to my premium subscribers. Nevertheless, it's still worthwhile for investors to understand the sheer magnitude of the problem diabetes presents... because that's absolutely crucial to understanding the opportunity investors have to add key companies working on a solution to their portfolio.
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This article originally appeared on StreetAuthority.com.