According to recent research, the number of people with diabetes has doubled in the last 10 years.1 The report, by the Centers for Disease Control or CDC, shows that the nation (and really the whole developed world) is becoming heavier and heavier (see YouTube video) and with that excess weight comes an increasingly large number of people who have diabetes.
Having diabetes is far from a mild disease; it has major implications on the quality of life. People with diabetes are much more likely to have:
- Heart disease
- Kidney disease
- Eye disease (cataracts, macular degeneration, blindness)
- Vascular disease (stroke and poor circulation to hands and feet)
- Loss of nerve sensation (neuropathy)
Diabetes is harmful and it will cut your life short. Diabetics lose an average of 12 years for men and 14 years for women from their lives. 5 Yes, women are harmed by diabetes more than men.
There is associated problem with diabetes that doesn’t get much attention that has to do with the quality of life lived by a diabetic. The quality of life deteriorates rapidly in people with diabetes: blindness, losing limbs, heart disease, kidney failure and more. When scientists make an estimation of the loss of not only years lived, but also the quality of those years, they come up with something they call “quality-adjusted years”. Men lose an average of 19 quality-adjusted years and women lose around 22 years.5
I don’t know about you, but 20 years kicked off of a life seems rather significant.
It is Bad and Getting Worse
Population estimates are hard to come by, but the current number of people with diabetes is estimated somewhere between 4.3 to 16.6 percent of the population,2 with certain ethnic groups such as Native American and Hispanics at the high end of those calculations.
But even those percentages don’t tell the whole story. What you really want to know is this: what are your chances of getting diabetes? It is easy to think that your chances of getting diabetes are between 4.3 to 16.6 percent (like the population estimates), but that is not true. To find out your own risk, you have to look at lifetime risk (the chances you will get diabetes some time in your life). What are your lifetime risks for diabetes? The esteemed Journal of the American Medical Association or JAMA made these estimates in 2003:
For people born in 2000, their lifetime risk for getting diabetes is 32.8 percent for males and 38.5 percent for females.5
That is incredible: an almost 40% risk of getting diabetes some time in your lifetime.
It Doesn’t Have to be This Way!
Here is the thing you need to know: diabetes is completely preventable. It is the one disease that I can say for sure that you never have to suffer through as long as you follow my dietary advice. No pills, no drugs… just follow dietary advice. I detail just what diet to follow in my book Sugarettes, but let me give you an outline of what you need to do:
- Avoid sugar in all its forms: soda, cookies, candies…
- Eat a diet at or below the glycemic index
- Find ways to deal with your sugar addiction
That is it. Sounds simple, but following it is hard.
Diabetes has doubled in the last 10 years, don’t let you or a member of your family become one of the statistics.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). State-specific incidence of diabetes among adults–participating states, 1995-1997 and 2005-2007. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2008 Oct 31;57(43):1169-73.
- Ramsey F, Ussery-Hall A, Garcia D, et al. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Prevalence of selected risk behaviors and chronic diseases–Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), 39 steps communities, United States, 2005. MMWR Surveill Summ. 2008 Oct 31;57(11):1-20.
- Magliano DJ, Shaw JE, Shortreed SM, et al. Lifetime risk and projected population prevalence of diabetes. Diabetologia. 2008 Sep 23
- Mainous AG 3rd, Baker R, Koopman RJ, et al. Impact of the population at risk of diabetes on projections of diabetes burden in the United States: an epidemic on the way. Diabetologia. 2007 May;50(5):934-40. Epub 2006 Nov 21.
- K. M. Venkat Narayan, James P. Boyle, Theodore J. Thompson. Lifetime Risk for Diabetes Mellitus in the United States. JAMA. 2003;290:1884-1890.