Tag Archives: CDC

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.



Filed under DM Prevalence

Diabetes: Scope of the Problem

97 mg/dl. Yippee!

Type 2 diabetes is arguably the most important public health problem in the U.S. and most of the developed world. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention predicts that one of every three Americans born in the year 2000 will develop diabetes.

The most common form of diabetes by far is type 2, which describes about 85% of cases. It’s less serious than type 1 diabetes. Type 1 diabetics have an immune system abnormality that destroys the pancreas’s ability to make insulin. Type 1’s will not last long without insulin injections. On the other hand, many type 2 diabetics live well without insulin shots.

“Prediabetes” is what you’d expect: a precursor that may become full-blown type 2 diabetes over time. Blood sugar levels are above average, but not yet into the diabetic range. One in four people with prediabetes develops type 2 diabetes over the course of three to five years. Researchers estimate that 35% of the adult U.S. population had prediabetes in 2008. That’s one out of every three adults, or 79 million. Only 7% of them (less than one in 10) were aware they had it.

In the U.S. as of 2010, 26 million folks have diabetes. That includes 11% of all adults.

The rise of diabetes parallels the increase in overweight and obesity, which in turn mirrors the prominence of refined sugars and starches throughout our food supply. These trends are intimately related. Public health authorities 40 years ago convinced us to cut down our fat consumption in a mistaken effort to help our hearts. We replaced fats with body-fattening carbohydrates that test the limits of our pancreas to handle them. Diabetics and prediabetics fail that test.

Dr. Richard K. Bernstein, notable diabetologist, wrote that, “Americans are fat largely because of sugar, starches, and other high-carbohydrate foods.”

We’re even starting to see type 2 diabetes in children, which was rare just thirty years ago. It’s undoubtedly related to overweight and obesity. Childhood obesity in the U.S. tripled from the early 1980s to 2000, ending with a 17% obesity rate.  Overweight and obesity together describe 32% of U.S. children.

Diabetes is important because it has the potential to damage many different organ systems, deteriorating quality of life. It can damage nerves (neuropathy), eyes (retinopathy), kidneys (nephropathy),  and stomach function (gastroparesis), just to name a few.

Just as important, diabetes can cut life short. Compared to those who are free of diabetes, having diabetes at age 50 more than doubles the risk of developing cardiovascular disease—heart attacks, strokes, and high blood pressure. Compared to those without diabetes, having both cardiovascular disease and diabetes approximately doubles the risk of dying. Compared to those without diabetes, women and men with diabetes at age 50 die seven or eight years earlier, on average.

Diabetic complications and survival rates will undoubtedly improve over the coming decades as we learn how to better treat this ancient disease.

Steve Parker, M.D.

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Filed under Diabetes Complications

Is Raw Milk Safe?

Caveat emptor

Interest in consuming nonpasteurized milk and cheese seems to be increasing in the U.S. over the last couple years. I don’t know why. Is it safe?

In case you’ve forgotten, the process of pasteurization is designed to kill pathogenic organisms that raw milk may harbor. Campylobacter and Salmonella are two of the common pathogens.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this month published an article on disease outbreaks associated with nonpasteurized dairy products. Bottom line: Nonpasteurized products are 150 times more likely to be associated with foodborne illness compared to pasteurized product. The CDC wants states to consider more stringent regulation.

It’s hard to be sure, but my sense is that foodborne illness related to nonpasteurized dairy products in the U.S. is pretty uncommon, if not rare.

Mark Crislip at Science-Based Medicine says pasteurization is a good thing.

As for me, I’m not going out of my way looking for nonpasteurized milk and cheese.

Steve Parker, M.D.

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Filed under Dairy Products

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.


Filed under DM Prevalence

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.


And largely preventable if we have the will.

Steve Parker, M.D.

Reference: Prediabetes FAQs at the CDC website.

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Filed under DM Prevalence, Prevention of T2 Diabetes

Diabetes Increases Dramatically

On June 24, 2008, the Centers for Disease Control released prevalence data for diabetes in the U.S.  Nearly 24 million people now have diabetes, up three percent over just two years.  This is eight percent of the population.  The vast majority of cases are of type 2 diabetes, not the type 1 usually diagnosed in childhood.

Another 57 million people have pre-diabetes, a condition that can turn into full-blown diabetes over time.  The two types of pre-diabetes are “impaired fasting glucose” and “impaired glucose tolerance.”

The CDC broke down diabetes prevalence for various age groups.  Twenty-three percent of people over 60 have diabetes.  Eleven percent of all adults have diabetes.

The 24 million figure includes six million who have diabetes but have not yet been diagnosed.

I expect to see even more diabetes cases in the future as our overweight population ages.

Risk factors for the development of type 2 diabetes include aging and genetic heritage.  You can’t do anything about those.  But two other major risk factors are under your control: habitual inactivity and excessive body fat.

If you don’t want to be one of these statistics, now you know what you need to do.

Steve Parker, M.D.

Additional information:

WebMD Diabetes Guide

American Diabetes Association

The Prevention or Delay of Type 2 Diabetes

Does Weight Loss Prevent Type 2 Diabetes?

Mediterranean Diet Reduces Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

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Filed under DM Prevalence