Posted by Carlos Velez on September 24, 2014
Are we finally getting our hands around diabetes?
According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest that rates of diabetes in the US may be leveling off. The original report, published in JAMA, is available here.
Why are diabetes rates leveling off?
One major change appears to be obesity:
More than one-third of adults, 35%, were obese in 2011 and 2012, a rate that is roughly unchanged from 2003-04, according to CDC data... People who are overweight tax the body's ability to properly control blood sugar and regulate levels of insulin, the hormone that, when no longer produced or properly controlled, can lead to diabetes.
So this is good news. If the rates of obesity are leveling off, then diabetes will follow suit.
This implies that we're doing a slightly better job with our eating habits and our exercise routines.
Another reason is that pre-diabetes is being detected much earlier. So people who are pre-diabetic can make healthy changes before developing full blown diabetes.
Again, this is also good news.
But, the battle against obesity and diabetes is far from won.
In fact, we're still looking at over 29 million Americans with diabetes. That's nearly 10% of the US population.
This single disease accounts for nearly $250 billion (that's billion with a B) in medical expenditures.
So this even affects healthy people via to higher insurance premiums and higher taxes.
So while the diabetes train may be slowing down, it is still on the track, and moving rapidly in a direction it should not be traveling.
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