Problem of Diabetes

Problem of Diabetes
Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus, a condition characterized by elevated glucose (hyperglycemia) and insulin resistance, is a common condition. The problem is increasing, even in children due to an increase in the prevalence of obesity and a decrease in physical activity.

Type 2 diabetes affect approximately 8% of people in the U.S and up to 10% worldwide. It is estimated that 25-40% of these are unaware they have the condition. The health implications are extensive and this problem accounts for 14% of U.S. healthcare expenditures. This is mainly due to the consequences of diabetes. Uncontrolled diabetes causes extensive vascular damage leading to heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, need for amputation and blindness. Preventing and controlling diabetes can stave off a number of chronic medical conditions that lead to poor health and death.

This condition has become more prevalent in children which is highly concerning. The earlier the onset of diabetes, the more likely an individual will suffer from the above problems and have premature death. In 1990 the prevalence of Type 2 diabetes in children was about 3%. The numbers affected increased to 20% in 2003. This is a public health crisis.

The primary reason this condition has increased in children is because of the increase in childhood obesity. It is clear that obesity increases insulin resistance which leads to higher circulating levels of glucose. These higher levels of glucose damage the pancreas where insulin is made leading to a decrease in insulin production. It is a viscous cycle.

Other contributors to hyperglycemia and insulin resistance is diet. An inappropriate diet that is high in sugar can contribute to further problems with glucose control. In addition, excessive amount of sugar and even calories contribute to weight gain and subsequent obesity. For much of the population the key is preventing obesity.

There is a genetic predisposition to diabetes. Some individuals are more prone to developing this problems and the triggers for developing the condition are many. Some will eventually develop it as they age, while others spark the condition with poor eating habits, alcohol and minimal activity.

The western diet of fast foods, eating for entertainment and consuming excessive calories is killing us. In addition the lifestyle of little to no physical activity is adding fuel to the fire. Diet and exercise habits are established in childhood. Our children are being taught bad habits and these are difficult to break as adults.

The solution is simple for many. A nutritious diet, regular physical activity and weight management can ward off diabetes in many, especially children. Even those with a genetic predisposition to diabetes can benefit. A healthy diet, weight control and regular exercise helps improve glucose control in those with diabetes. Prevention is ideal and this should be the target for our children. In individuals with the condition, these activities are beneficial and can help those affected live a long and healthy life.

I hope this article has provided you with information that will help you make wise choices, so you may:

Live healthy, live well and live long!

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