ADA President Dr. Robert Rizza says diabetes epidemic "devastating"
This PR Newswire story reports on a disturbing new study regarding the prevalence of diabetes growing to epidemic proportions with 73 million Americans currently with diabetes or are in a pre-diabetic state. That amounts to an incredible one in three Americans who suffer from a preventable disease which has grown to the fifth largest cause of death by disease that could be treated rather easily and effectively by livin' la vida low-carb.
Lead researcher Dr. Catherine C. Cowie, director of the Bethesda, MD-based Division of Diabetes Epidemiology Program (DDEMD) at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), along with assistance from researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention looked at statistical data regarding diabetes and found that the disease has continued to grow and grow despite the fact that we know how to prevent it from developing.
"Despite the fact that we now know how to prevent type 2 diabetes in many cases -- through lifestyle changes that include weight loss and increased physical activity -- we continue to see this disease climb," said Dr. Cowie. "We also need to do a better job of diagnosing the one-in-three people with diabetes who don't know they have it."
The study comparing data from the 1999-2002 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) to that of the 1988-1994 NHANES found that 19.3 million Americans, which is 9.3 percent of adults age 20 and older, had diabetes in 1999-2002. This includes a sharp rise from 5.1 percent in 1988-1994 to 6.5 percent of people in 1999-2002 who were found to be already diagnosed with diabetes and another 2.8 percent who have gone undiagnosed.
However, more than one-fourth of Americans have what is known as impaired fasting glucose (IFG) which is a form of pre-diabetes where glucose levels are higher than normal, but not considered high enough to be full-fledged diabetes yet. Nevertheless, people with IFG generally develop diabetes within a decade unless something is done to intervene.
This brings the total number of diabetics and pre-diabetics to an astounding 73.3 million Americans, or 35.3 percent of the population and the rates show no signs of stopping anytime soon as long as we continue down this path.
Diabetes among senior citizens aged 65 and older rose to 21.6 percent and African-Americans as well as Mexican Americans saw their diagnosed diabetes rates double. Men and women saw similar rates in diagnosed diabetes, although undiagnosed diabetes and IFG were significantly higher among men, according to the study.
This study was published in the June 2006 issue of the peer-reviewed scientific journal Diabetes Care.
Dr. Robert Rizza, president of Medicine & Science of the American Diabetes Association, expressed his disappointment that change has not come about despite efforts to educate the population about methods for preventing the onset of diabetes.
"Obviously, we aren't doing enough to convince people they need to make changes in their lives," Dr. Rizza remarked. "Diabetes is a chronic and often debilitating disease that can cut short your life. The fact that we know how to prevent type 2 diabetes and we're still seeing this kind of increase is devastating."
This lack of self-control and action by people to prevent diabetes from developing is takings its toll on the American healthcare system as well -- to the tune of an estimated $132 BILLION in medical expenses and missed time from work in 2002 alone. This is an alarming cost considering it is 100% preventable with lifestyle changes, which include a diet low in refined carbohydrates and rich in nutrients as well as moderate levels of exercise.
You can e-mail Dr. Catherine C. Cowie about her study at firstname.lastname@example.org.
"We really need to do a better job of convincing people that they should be adopting healthy behaviors that will prevent these conditions," Dr. Cowie added.
Obesity is one of the primary causes of the development of diabetes and the low-carb lifestyle can help get that under control along with stabilizing blood glucose levels. Studies have shown that a moderate weight loss combined with a moderate exercise plan can greatly improve your odds of fighting the inevitability of diabetes.
"Even doing something simple like walking 30 minutes a day, five days a week can lower risk," Dr. Cowie explained.
The most unfortunate thing are all the people who don't even know they have diabetes or are within a few years of developing it. Let's put it this way -- if you are overweight or obese, then you should ASSUME (in a good way!) that you are at risk for developing diabetes and should put into place a plan of action to do something about it. Don't just wait until you are diagnosed with diabetes before you protect your health. DO SOMETHING NOW for your own good!
Besides obesity, diabetes is generally considered related to genetics, inactivity, being a minority race, having high blood pressure, having high triglycerides, having low HDL "good" cholesterol, having PCOS, and being middle-aged. Most of these are symptoms of metabolic syndrome, a condition researchers have found to be treated well with a low-carb program.
The bottom line in all of this is the very clear message that WE CAN TURN THE TIDE ON DIABETES. It IS possible and it CAN be done if people become receptive to such lifestyle changes as giving up sugar, white flour and processed foods in favor of more nutrient-rich and delicious foods that will satisfy the desire for taste and nourishment while at the same time controlling blood glucose levels and reducing body fat. That's what livin' la vida low-carb can do for the one in three of you who suffer from either diabetes or pre-diabetes.
In 2004 I weighed 410 pounds and was definitely headed straight for Diabetesville! That was a position that I put myself in because of my addition to sugar and other refined carbohydrates. When I decided to begin eating healthier (you know, the lifestyle change thingy!), my life took a turn for the better and I've never felt better or been healthier in my entire life!
NOW is the time for people to take action and stop sitting on the sidelines thinking diabetes is going away on its own. It will only see a turnaround when people get serious about changing their old habits, get serious about losing excess weight, get serious about committing themselves to daily exericise, and finally, they must get serious about taking full personal responsibility for their own health as soon as possible. Nobody can do this for you -- it's an action that YOU must take for yourself!
DO IT and you'll never regret it! Maybe then we can see this diabetes epidemic get eradicated for GOOD!