Friday, September 25, 2015

Half of U.S. Adults Have Diabetes or High Risk of Getting It

Up to 14% of adults had diagnosed or undiagnosed type 2 diabetes in 2011-2012, and about 38% had diagnosed or undiagnosed prediabetes, the researchers reported. Prediabetes is defined as having elevated blood sugar levels that aren’t high enough to be called full-blown diabetes, the researchers explained.

“Prediabetes puts people at risk of diabetes in the future,” said lead researcher Catherine Cowie. She is program director of the U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases’ division of diabetes, endocrinology and metabolic diseases.

About one-third of those Americans with type 2 diabetes don’t know they have it, and most of those with prediabetes are unaware of their condition, the study authors said. For these adults, the findings should be a wake-up call to get treatment and make lifestyle changes that include losing weight and being more active, Cowie said.

Although data from recent years suggests that the increase in the prevalence of diabetes may be leveling off, it’s still too high, Cowie added.

“Diabetes can be treated, but only if it is diagnosed,” she explained. “The medical community needs to be aware that there is a high rate of undiagnosed diabetes in the population."

Type 2 diabetes is caused by obesity, poor eating habits and lack of exercise. The new report was published September 8 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Dr. William Herman is a professor of epidemiology at the University of Michigan School of Public Health in Ann Arbor and co-author of an accompanying journal editorial. He said, “The doubling in the rate of obesity in the U.S. between 1980 and 2000 was followed 10 years later by a dramatic increase in the rate of type 2 diabetes.”

Now it appears that the stabilization in the rate of obesity in the United States that has occurred since 2000 may be associated with a leveling off in the prevalence of diabetes, beginning in about 2010, he said.

Changes in cultural attitudes toward obesity, changes in food policy, implementation of ways to identify people at risk for type 2 diabetes and support for behavioral change may be beginning to have an effect on the twin epidemics of obesity and type 2 diabetes, Herman suggested.

“Although progress has been made, expanded and sustained efforts will be needed to address these pressing health problems,” he said.

My Take:
Please be aware that rate of obesity leveled off in 2000, it has not declined. The same appears to be true of diabetes. I want you to review two of my old blogs – “A1c Test” posted 6/3/2015 and “Nearly 3 in 10 Americans with Diabetes Don’t Know It” posted 11/24/14.

The older study claimed that 24.8 million Americans have type 2 diabetes. This study says the over 157 million Americans either have diabetes or are at risk for developing the disease. Even if the rate stabilizes the demand for care will overwhelm our health care system.

I mention the dramatic increase in A1c elevation I am finding in my office in the more recent blog. I am finding it because I am looking. You should be looking too. However, I disagree with Catherine Cowie that you have to diagnosis type 2 diabetes to treat it. We know the causes are obesity, poor eating habits and lack of exercise. For prediabetes and many cases of type 2 diabetes weight loss, improved eating habits and regular exercise are the cure. Do you really need a diagnosis to implement those changes in your life?

The Bottom Line:
Have you A1c run yearly, more often if it is elevated. Don’t wait for your fasting glucose to elevate. Regardless, get going on the cure. Based out these statistics, your odds of developing diabetes are now a little bit higher than 50/50.

Source: September 8, 2015 National Institutes of Health

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