The Diabetes Threat
Posted on by Dr. Francis Collins
The number of Americans diagnosed with type 2 diabetes rose from 1.5 million in 1958 to 18.8 million in 2010. That’s an increase of epidemic proportions. Even more disturbing, another 7 million Americans have type 2 diabetes, but don’t know it and, consequently, can’t take steps to control the disease. Altogether, over 8% of the U.S. population now has this potentially deadly metabolic condition.
- Type 2 diabetes wreaks havoc on the body by raising the levels of glucose in the blood, increasing the risk of blindness, heart disease, kidney failure, nerve damage, and even Alzheimer’s disease.
- Pre-diabetes is a condition in which blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be called diabetes. 79 million U.S. adults age 20 and older have pre-diabetes.
- NIH studies have shown that losing just 6–7% of body weight and increasing physical activity can prevent or delay pre-diabetes from progressing to diabetes. 85% of people with diabetes are overweight.