ThedaCare Health Matters

Combatting rising problems of Diabetes

Diabetes is a common medical condition affecting around 29 million Americans or about 1 in 11 adults. Diabetes is a metabolic condition manifested by elevated levels of sugar (glucose) in the blood stream and is generally divided into type 1 and type 2.

Type 1 typically occurs in children or adolescents and can cause acute life threatening illness and only about 5 percent of diabetics are type 1 and require insulin to survive.

Type 2 Diabetes typically arises in adults and can be treated with diet and oral medications, but sometimes requires insulin. Type 2 diabetes tends to be linked to obesity, but not in every case.

Recently, I wrote about the obesity epidemic in the U.S. I reported some CDC statistics that indicated the obesity rates are rapidly rising. Specifically, the data showed that no state had an obesity rate over 15 percent in 1985 and by 2016 no state had an obesity rate less than 20 percent. The overall obesity rate is about 33 percent. It is amazing to see how the U.S. diabetes rates are following the same patterns, but lagging behind by several years. In other words, as obesity rates increase in certain states, diabetes rates increase in a very similar pattern.

Currently, diabetes is diagnosed in an individual with fasting blood glucose of 126 or more. Some providers require two separate tests to confirm the diagnosis.
People often refer to prediabetes when the blood glucose fasting is between 100 and 126. Prediabetics have a higher tendency to develop diabetes at a later time. Gestational diabetes refers to women who have elevated blood glucose during pregnancy. These individuals also have a tendency toward developing diabetes later in life.

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