Category Archives: DM Prevalence

Shocker: 40% of U.S. Adults to Develop Diabetes

Like type 1 diabetics, many type 2's need insulin shots

Like type 1 diabetics, many type 2’s need insulin shots

Researchers affiliated with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control estimate that 40% of American adults will develop diabetes, mostly type 2. The CDC’s prior estimate was the one of every three Americans born in 2000 would develop diabetes. Some snippets from the article abstract:

On the basis of 2000—11 data, lifetime risk of diagnosed diabetes from age 20 years was 40·2% for men and 39·6% for women, representing increases of 20 percentage points and 13 percentage points, respectively, since 1985—89.

The number of life-years lost to diabetes when diagnosed at age 40 years decreased from 7·7 years in 1990—99 to 5·8 years in 2000—11 in men, and from 8·7 years to 6·8 years in women over the same period.

Years spent with diabetes increased by 156% in men and 70% in women.

The good news is that you can decrease your odds of type 2 diabetes via diet and exercise. The single most important issue in preventing type 2 diabetes is avoiding obesity. Next  is regular physical activity.

Steve Parker, M.D.

 

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Adolescent Type 1 Diabetes on the Rise in U.S.

The prevalence of type 1 diabetes in U.S. adolescents rose by 23% between 2001 and 2009, according to University of Colorado researchers.

The journal Pediatrics just recently published an article stating that the incidence of diabetes and prediabetes in U.S. adolescents increased from 9% in 1999 to 23% in 2008. From that report, however, I couldn’t tell how much of the increase was type 1 versus type 2.

No one knows why type 1 diabetes in youths is increasing.  The rise in type 2 diabetes is likely related to higher obesity rates.

     Steve Parker, M.D.

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U.S. Diabetes Prevalence From 1935 to 2011

From 1935 to 1996, the prevalence of diagnosed type 2 diabetes [in the U.S.] climbed nearly 765%.

This statistic is from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as cited in Increased Consumption of Refined Carbohydrates and the Epidemic of Type 2 Diabetes in the United States: an Ecologic Assessment, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2004, vol. 79, no.5, pp: 774-779.

I thought 765% might be a misprint, so I did some digging.  A similar figure is in DHHS Publication No. (PHS) 82-1232 published in 1981:

  • Diabetes prevalence rose from 0.4% of the population in 1935,  to 2.4% in 1979.

This is a six-fold increase.  The major part of the upward trend started in 1960.  Interestingly, that’s when corn syrup started working its way into our food supply.  Coincidence?  The authors of the Department of Human Services paper write:

Preliminary evaluation of these trends suggests that the change in the prevalence of known diabetes has resulted from improvements both in detection of diabetes among high-risk groups and in survivorship among persons with diabetes.

To me, it sounds like they weren’t considering an true increase in the number of new diabetes cases (incidence), but better detection of existing cases and improved longevity of existing patients (prevalence).  Incidence and prevalence are often confusing.  Wikipedia has a clarifying article.  These days, both incidence and prevalence are greatly increased over 1935 levels.

In January of 2011, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released the latest estimates for prevalence of diabetes and prediabetes. The situation is worse than it was in 2008, the last figures available.

  • 8.3% of the total U.S. population has either diagnosed or undiagnosed diabetes (earlier percentages in this post were for diagnosed cases only)
  • 6% of the U.S. adult population has diagnosed diabetes (My calculation: Population in 2011 was 311 million; with 18.8 million diagnosed cases of diabetes, 7 million undiagnosed)
  • Nearly 27% of American adults age 65 or older have diabetes (overwhelmingly type 2)
  • Half of Americans 65 and older have prediabetes
  • 11% of U.S. adults (nearly 26 million) have diabetes (overwhelmingly type 2)
  • 35% of adults (79 million) have prediabetes, and most of those affected don’t know it

Here’s a post about prevention of type 2 diabetes.

Steve Parker, M.D.

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Prediabetes and Diabetes on the Rise in U.S. Adolescents, Doubling in a Decade

The June, 2012, issue of Pediatrics has an article stating that the incidence of diabetes and prediabetes in U.S. adolescents increased from 9% in 1999 to 23% in 2008.  The finding is based on the NHANES survey of 12 to 19-year-olds, which included a single fasting blood sugar determination.

The investigators offered no solution to the problem.  I’m no pediatrician, but my guess is that the following measures would help prevent adolescent type 2 diabetes and prediabetes:

  • more exercise
  • eat less sugar and refined starches
  • keep body weight in the healthy range
I’m sure many of the adolescent type 2 diabetics and prediabetics are overweight or obese.  A 2010 study out of Colorado found a low-carbohydrate, high-protein diet safe and effective for adolescents.  Fortunately, the decades-long ascent of the adolescent obesity rate in the U.S. seems to have peaked for now.

Steve Parker, M.D.

PS: I scanned the article quickly and don’t remember if the researchers broke down the diabetes cases by type 1 and type 2.  I’d be shocked if type 1 diabetes rose this much over the last decade.

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Half of Americans Over 65 Have Prediabetes

Two days ago the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released the latest estimates for prevalence of diabetes and prediabetes.  The situation is worse than it was in 2008, the last figures available. 

  • Nearly 27% of American adults age 65 or older have diabetes (overwhelmingly type 2)
  • Half of Americans 65 and older have prediabetes
  • 11% of U.S. adults (nearly 26 million) have diabetes (overwhelmingly type 2)
  • 35% of adults (79 million) have prediabetes, and most of those affected don’t know it

The CDC estimates that one of every three U.S. adults could have diabetes by 2050 if present trends continue.

The press release from the CDC mentions that physical activity and avoidance of overweight will prevent some cases of diabetes.  I believe that  limiting consumption of refined carbohydrates like sugar and flour would also help.

Steve Parker, M.D.

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One of Every Three Born in 2000 Will Develop Diabetes

"No diabetes in my future!"

The U.S. already has 24 million people with diabetes and another 54 million with prediabetes.  Approximately one of every three persons born in the U.S. in 2000 will develop diabetes in his or her lifetime, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Incredible.

And largely preventable if we have the will.

Steve Parker, M.D.

Reference: Prediabetes FAQs at the CDC website.

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Societal Changes and the Increasing Rates of Type 2 Diabetes

42-16033240I ran across a thought-provoking article published a few months ago at DiabetesHealth online.  It’s a non-scientific exploration of the potential causes of “diabesity,” the combination of obesity and type 2 diabetes.

You’ll get a kick out of this especially if you’re over 40.

Click here to read “50 Reasons Why Diabesity Wasn’t Prevalent 50 Years Ago.”

Steve Parker, M.D.

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