General Writing and Grammar Help/Plural or Singular

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Question
Dear Grammar expert, while plural verb is used for plural subject noun and singular verb is used for singular subject noun, I wish to know how this applies when the subject noun is a plural word which is used as a singular.  
    For example, which is right. "Diabetes related problems is a risk factor." or "Diabetes related problems are risk factors."
    In the examples above, I wish to use the term "diabetes related problems" to mean problems as a group.
    I would think that "Diabetes related problems is a risk factor." is the correct form. However, I very much need your assistance.

Answer
First of all, "diabetes related problems" is incorrect. A hyphen is required: "diabetes-related problems." (If you'd like elaboration, please ask a follow-up.)

Second, the subject of the sentence is "problems," which is plural, and requires a plural verb. "Diabetes-related" is an adjective modifying "problems."

Correct is:

Diabetes-related problems are a risk factor.  

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Richard Johnson

Expertise

I can answer any question--usually the same day--on correct English grammar, usage, and (non-fiction) writing style, usually the same day, based on the American practice. All answers are explained, and I encourage follow-up.

Experience

I'm a retired editor and a lifelong student of this subject. My library includes a great many works to which I've referred through the years. I currently rely primarily on the sixteenth edition of The Chicago Manual of Style.

Publications
For over 30 years I edited the newsletter of my own organization, which had different names but was last known as NotBarter.com.

Education/Credentials
BA, Brooklyn College. Advanced studies in economics and political science.

Awards and Honors
For many years a member of Mensa.

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