The National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse, a division of the National Institute of Health in the United States, says that Type 2 diabetes is steadily increasing in the United States. According to their projections, by the year 2050, a whopping 165 percent increase in the number of full-blown Type 2 diabetes cases is expected.
The American Diabetes Association has estimated the financial impact of diabetes at a figure of $132 billion each year in the United States alone. This particular estimate includes:
- actual medical costs amounting to $92 billion,
- $40 billion in indirect costs such as time lost at work, disability and early death.
It is anticipated these costs will double every five years due to the fact more and more young people are being diagnosed with diabetes.
With the enormous and ever-growing impact on the health of Americans, the United states spends about $12 million yearly on diabetes research… and this research is continuing to pay off.
Why is this form of diabetes increasing so much in the United States today? To understand the reasons behind this, some background knowledge is helpful.
How Type 2 Diabetes Happens: Why is diabetes increasing? It is not because it spreads like the flu does – Type 2 diabetes is not something you will develop through contact with another person. Rather, it happens when certain risk factors are present. Many people who have this form of diabetes have more than one of the risk factors, and their chances will be higher.
Risk Factors For Type 2 Diabetes: A number of risk factors are known to exist for diabetes. Type 2 diabetes most frequently strikes:
- men and women with a family history of diabetes,
- people who are over 40 years of age, and
- people who are overweight.
Another risk factor is genetic heritage. For instance, Native Americans, African Americans, Americans of Asian or Pacific island descent, and Latinos, are statistically at a higher risk. Women who have a baby weighing more than 9 pounds are frequently at risk for developing Type 2. A sedentary lifestyle, physical stress, emotional stress, and even high-fat diets also are recognized risk factors.
Furthermore, a medical condition called impaired glucose tolerance, impaired fasting glucose, or prediabetes, which is present in roughly 20 million Americans, is another identified risk factor.
Bottom Line: Why Is Type 2 Diabetes Increasing? The bottom line is Type 2 diabetes is on the rise for several reasons…
First, more Americans are overweight or obese than ever before in the history of our nation. The connection with this form of diabetes becomes clear when you consider the fact 90 percent of diabetics today are overweight or obese.
Another reason for the rise is the overall United States population is growing older, and as people grow older their risk for Type 2 diabetes rises. Finally, when you put the previous two factors together, a rise in diabetes becomes inevitable because more people now have a close family member (such as a mother), with diabetes.
The typical person diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes is between 55 and 60 years old. Often, people under the age of 25 are also diagnosed with Type 2, which is one of the reasons the disease is no longer known as maturity onset diabetes. The various groups with a higher incidence of diabetes are beginning to produce more children who develop Type 2 as well.
Although we have some very clear ideas for answering the “Why Is Type 2 Diabetes Increasing?” question, the fact is that some lifestyle changes in the general population must be made in order to reverse this trend. Healthier lifestyles, with more people maintaining a healthy weight, is one potential solution to starting to reverse this trend.