The recent four-part series in The Times offered grim insights into the incurable disease called diabetes. Ignore it, and it can lead to heart disease, strokes, amputations and shortened lives. It is the leading cause of blindness. Most of those who have diabetes have Type 2, in which obesity and poverty are key contributors.

The sheer cost of caring for diabetics, who often do not get help until they are in catastrophic need, will keep going up. The financial burden of attending to diabetes’ many uninsured victims eventually land on state and local governments.

In New York City — where one in eight adults has diabetes, almost 150 per cent more than just 10 years ago — that cost is about 200 million dollars annually and is growing at a rapid rate. It would be better for everyone if more diabetics took care of their disease through diet, exercise, medication and blood testing at regular intervals. But many diabetics, about one-fourth, simply don’t know they have the disease, which can be without symptoms for years.

It should be no mystery that the US, the only leading economic power without national health care, also leads the world in the per capita rate of diabetes.

Waiting for this epidemic’s fuller toll is foolhardy.

Now is the time to develop a coordinated plan with a long view to take control of diabetes.