40% of Americans Will Develop Type 2 Diabetes in Their Lifetime
Type 2 diabetes onset occurs when the body does not produce enough insulin, or the insulin that is produced does not function properly, causing abnormal blood glucose levels. Currently, type 2 diabetes accounts for 90-95% of all diabetes cases in the US. In recent years, its prevalence has increased. In 2010, 25.8 million Americans had the condition, and this increased to 29.1 million by 2012. However, a research team has found that the mortality rate in the US population with and without diabetes has declined. “The simultaneous changes in incidence and mortality warrant re-examination of lifetime risk of diabetes and life-years lost due to diabetes,” say the researchers. With this thought in mind, researchers analyzed data from the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), which pertained diabetes incidence in the US from 1985 to 2011. Additionally, they assessed the death certificates of 598,216 adults. This information was all used to estimate the lifetime risk of diabetes in the US, as well as years of life lost due to the condition.
The researchers found that for the average young American, the lifetime risk of developing type 2 diabetes increased from 20% in 1984-89 to 40% in 2000-11 for men, while lifetime risk for women increased from 27% to 39%. “As the number of diabetes cases continue to increase and patients live longer, there will be a growing demand for health services and extensive costs. More effective lifestyle interventions are urgently needed to reduce the number of new cases in the US and other developed nations,” says lead researcher Dr. Edward Gregg, chief of the Epidemiology and Statistics Branch, Division of Diabetes Translation at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Dr. Lorraine Lipscombe of Women’s College Hospital and the University of Toronto, agrees that prevention strategies need to be set in place to reduce incidence of type 2 diabetes, however she says “only a population-based approach to prevention can address a problem of this magnitude.” She adds that, “prevention strategies should include optimization of urban planning, food-marketing policies, and work and school environments that enable individuals to make healthier lifestyle choices. With an increased focus on interventions aimed at children and their families, there might still be time to change the fate of our future generations by lowering their risk of type 2 diabetes.”