29 million people, or 9% of the population, had diabetes in 2012, up from 26 million in 2010.
More than one-third of all adults have blood sugar that is elevated but not high enough to reach the threshold of diabetes. These people are called “pre-diabetic.”
According to the CDC, of those people diagnosed as “pre-diabetic,” 15-30% will go on to develop full blown Type 2 diabetes within the next five years.
According to Kelly Wirfel, M.D., an endocrinologist at the UTHealth Medical School, we could be caught in something of a statistical no-man’s land. She says obesity levels are actually dropping, and we should eventually see a decrease in the number of people diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes.
Dr. Wirfel credits the current decline in obesity on public awareness. “People understand the risks of diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases, and I think people are becoming more aware,” she says.
Dr. Medhavi Jogi of Houston Thyroid and Endocrine Centers says the epidemic engulfing the US isn’t happening in isolation. Dr. Jogi says India and China are perfect examples of a global trend: populations that previously had very few incidences of Type 2 Diabetes, but since they have adopted the West’s sedentary lifestyle and the West’s diet, laced with processed foods, they have surpassed the U.S. in per capita cases.
“There will be no easy solution to this,” says Dr. Jogi. “It’s too easy to get access to the cheaper food, the processed food, and it’s too easy to eat too quickly, before you even realize you are full. So there will be a behavioral approach, a nutritional approach, a medical approach, but in the end to prevent Diabetes or the onset of complications, it comes down to good choices and making conscious decisions to take the flight of stairs, exercise at least 150 minutes per week.”
No magic pill. Never was and never will be. Just sweat and refraining from eating what may well be your favorite foods. Not a high price to pay for a more satisfying, healthier and longer life.
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