Diabetes is a rising scourge in our country. The incidence of diabetes has risen strikingly in the last few decades, becoming described as an epidemic.
With that in mind, I decided to step aside for yesterday and today to allow John Doe (yeah, really) who works with the Diabetes Care Community website, which is based out of our neighbor to the north, Canada, to talk a bit about the disease and look into why the incidence of it is rising so precipitously.
As we talked about yesterday, the main reason for this rise could have a lot to do with the culture of inactivity also creeping over our population here in the United States.
Take it away, John.
Much of the increased incidence of diabetes is due to type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of the disease. It is often related to obesity and to low levels of physical activity.
The rise in type 2 diabetes in North America is particularly high. Studies show that over the past three decades, blood glucose levels in the U.S. have risen at more than twice the rate of those in Western Europe.
These figures may in part be due to the rising numbers of immigrants from high-risk populations. These include people of Asian, South Asian, Hispanic and African descent. Increased life expectancy may also play a part, since older people are more at risk of developing diabetes.
However, numerous studies also point to the Western culture’s dietary habits and sedentary lifestyle as being a major contributor to the rise in type 2 diabetes. For example, reliance on heavily processed and fast foods, together with high consumption of sugary drinks, may contribute to the elevated blood glucose levels found in uncontrolled diabetics.
The rise of type 2 diabetes in Native Indian communities is often said to support this theory. Although there is likely a genetic element behind this population’s high risk for the condition, some Native Indian groups have seen such a rapid rise in incidence since the 1940s that other factors are also believed to be at work. These include the move from the traditional diet to the much more heavily processed foods of the typical U.S. or Canadian diets.
Diabetes is an expensive disease, in more ways than one. A recent research report put the current annual global sales of diabetes medications at around $35 billion. This amount can only rise.
The cost of these medications, supplies and ongoing healthcare is placing a significant economic burden on individuals and governments alike. Until a cure is found, diabetes will inevitably remain a hot topic for us all.
Thanks, John and the Diabetes Care Community folks up in Canada.
Even if you don’t want to find out more, you can help little dudes and dudettes in your family fight off incipient type 2 diabetes. Get the little dudes outside more often, run them around. Basically get them up off the couch and out from in front of the television. And cut down on the fast foods.
See? Easy peasy.