Health experts are warning that type 2 diabetes is now a “national security issue.” It threatens all aspects of our nation’s well-being and by 2025 will affect an incredible 53 million Americans. If the current prognosis holds true, that would be a 64% increase from 2010. Talk about staggering.
That there is basically an epidemic of diabetes in the United States is no secret. It tends to go hand in hand with the epidemic of obesity. Throw in a heavy proportion of unhealthy food choices, lower rates of exercise, and you’ve got a recipe for blood sugar issues.
This new “Diabetes 2025 Model for the U.S.” projects a dramatic rise in diabetes, making it possible to estimate the ultimate burden this disease will have on society at large. In fact, it pegs the actual number: annual medical and societal costs will leap 72% to $514 billion. This comprehensive study actually provides forecasts for every state and several large metropolitan areas. You can view it here: http://www.altfutures.org/diabetes2025/.
In this country, while there are positive signs about treatment options for keeping people alive longer with a better quality of life, the rise of obesity and other issues put younger Americans at severe risk for type 2 diabetes,hypertension, high cholesterol, and heart disease. Changing this means making people aware of the full picture not only on a national scale, but also at the state and local levels. By showing people a glimpse of the future, it may help spark many to become healthier.
The study can be used to explore what would be necessary to dramatically improve this huge diabetes burden. If you lose five percent to 10% of your body weight through exercise and diet, it was found to prevent a prediabetic from becoming diabetic 58% of the time. So, if 50% of Americans with prediabetes did so, it would be nearly five million fewer cases of diabetes in 2025. Still, it shows that we truly need dramatic lifestyle changes by everyone with prediabetes to stop this sobering future forecast.
Some good news: if 50% of patients with diabetes received continuous, effective management and maintained good compliance over the next 15 years, it could prevent 305,000 new cases of kidney failure and 369,000 lower extremity amputations.
The researchers conclude that major changes are needed to address this issue, starting with an informed public. It starts with understanding the projected disease burden in the next 10-15 years. To prevent or combat diabetes, anyone can take certain steps themselves. Regular exercise is a must. Drink alcohol only in moderation. Eat more whole foods, fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy, and fish, avoiding sugary, processed and fast foods as much as possible.