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The U.S. government has recently released some alarming estimates, predicting that about 2 out of every 5 Americans will develop type 2 diabetes at some point during their adult lives. According to a recent study published online on Aug. 13 in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, the combination of obesity and longer lifespan has led to a 20% increase in the risk for developing type 2 diabetes. This results in a 40% chance for the average American adult to develop diabetes!
In order to conduct the study, researchers analyzed the medical records and death certificates of about 600,000 adults over a 16 year time span between 1985 and 2011. Researchers noted that while they expected to see that the risks of developing type 2 diabetes had increased, they were shocked to find out just how much the risk had increased. Like one of the studies lead authors, Edward Gregg, chief of the epidemiology and statistics branch in the division of diabetes translation at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said, “forty percent is a humbling number.”
On a more positive note, this study also revealed that the average lifespan for people with type 2 diabetes is longer than it has been in the past, which experts are attributing to the recent improvements in diabetes treatments and medications. According to Dr. Minisha Sood, an endocrinologist at LenoxHillHospital in New York City, the recent increase in the number of diabetes cases, combined with the fact that diabetes patients are living longer lives, is causing this diabetes epidemic to tax our healthcare system and raise healthcare costs at an alarming rate. Sood also pointed out her expectation that in the near future there will be a shortage of trained professionals that are able to deal with the surplus of diabetes patients.
Researchers and medical experts alike are emphasizing the importance of making lifestyle changes that will help combat the obesity epidemic, which in turn will help reduce the prevalence of new diabetes cases. Americans need to start taking better care of themselves by exercising more regularly, following well-balanced diet plans, and sleeping better.