According to a government report issued last Wednesday, the number or cases of diabetes among adults in the United States more than doubled in the time period between 1996 and 2007, from 9 million to 19 million.
At least 95% of diabetes is type 2, the kind which develops over time, often related to obesity, where the cells lose their ability to react properly to insulin. The remaining 5% of diabetes patients have the type I variety, which is an auto-immune disease causing its sufferers to not have enough insulin-producing cells which are needed for the body to control blood sugar levels.
Dr. Chrisitne Resta of the department of endocrinology at the Maimonides Medical Center in New York said, “Rates of diabetes have risen in all age groups. Twenty years ago, type 2 diabetes was unheard of in children and young adults, but now it is being diagnosed even in these younger age groups. Part of this rise is increased detection — patients are being evaluated and tested sooner and more often. But part of it is a real increase in the rates.”
Dr. Resta does not find it hard to explain the cause for these disturbing statistics.
“The percentage of U.S. adults who are overweight or obese has also risen dramatically, and there is no doubt that rising rates of obesity are linked to the rising rates of diabetes,” she said.