An estimated 23.6 million American adults and children have diabetes, but almost one-quarter of them are unaware they have the disease. In 90 percent to 95 percent of cases, people have type 2 disease.
Dr. David L. Katz, director of the Yale University School of Medicine's Prevention Research Center, said reversing the obesity epidemic is key to cutting the rate of type 2 diabetes.
"We have known for some time that type 2 diabetes is a worsening epidemic in the United States and much of the world," Katz said. "We now have evidence that the rate at which new cases of diabetes are developing is also increasing."
Katz noted that southern states tend to have more poorer people than other sections of the country, a statistic that could contribute to the greater number of new diabetes cases in that region. "This is unsurprising, as obesity and poverty are strongly associated, and obesity is the predominant risk factor for type 2 diabetes," he said.
The new report could have frightening implications for future generations of Americans, Katz said. "With the entire adult population of the United States projected to be overweight or obese by 2048, should current trends persist, diabetes is a clear and present danger to us all. That threat will persist and worsen, until we resolve to turn back the tide of epidemic obesity," he said.
As the number of type 2 diabetes cases increase, so does the cost of treating the disease. Reporting in the Oct. 27 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, researchers said the overall cost of drugs for type 2 diabetes almost doubled between 2001 and 2007. Yet, it's not clear if newer drugs improve patient care and results, the researchers said.
Type 2 diabetes is a lifelong disease caused by the body's inability to properly use the hormone insulin to transport sugar from the blood to cells for use as energy. Blacks, Hispanics, Native Americans and Asia
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