BALTIMORE (WJZ) — We know that it was complications from diabetes that killed former Raven Orlando Brown. It’s a disease he may not have known he had.
Andrea Fujii says more Marylanders than ever are at risk for the disease.
At only 40 years old, fans say former Ravens offensive lineman Orlando Brown died too young. The state medical examiner determined he passed away in his downtown condo from diabetes complications and they found no medical records that show he was ever diagnosed.
For 42-year-old diabetic Portia Hamilton, Brown’s death hits close to home.
“Sometimes I get depressed. I’m tired of taking it, of shooting myself with insulin and whatever but this encourages me to do the right things,” Hamilton said.
About 8.7 percent of Marylanders, or 496,000 have diabetes. That’s .5% more than the national average.
Dr. Sally Pinkstaff says the African-American population is more susceptible.
“African-Americans tend to have a higher prevalence of obesity than Asians or Caucasians. Also, there are genetic factors involved,” Pinkstaff said.
Experts recommend people be screened when they’re 45 or older, if they’re overweight and if diabetes runs in their family.
Diabetes is one of the few potentially deadly disease that patients can control so they’re encouraged to educate themselves on what to eat and just how much.
With a healthy diet and insulin, Hamilton’s diabetes is under control and Brown’s unexpected death reminds her to keep it that way.
“My son is only 11 and he needs me around and I have to do what I have to do,” she said.
It’s not clear how long Brown had diabetes, but the medical examiner says toxicology reports showed high levels of glucose in his body.
It’s estimated that seven million Americans are living with diabetes but have not been diagnosed.