Diabetes Increases in Every State

Map of USA. 3dThe prevalence of type 2 diabetes has climbed to over 6 percent in all 50 states, whereas just 3 states had a diabetes rate of 6 percent or more in 1995, according to a new federal report.  The diabetes rates have increased in tandem with obesity rates, highlighting the relationship between excess weight and the development of type 2 diabetes.  In eighteen states diabetes rates doubled in the 15 years covered by the study—with most of these states clustered in the South.  Oklahoma topped the list with a 226 percent increase in diabetes cases, followed by Kentucky with a 158 percent increase, Georgia with a 145 percent increase and Alabama at a 140 percent increase. All states showed increases in diabetes rates, including the leaner West, Midwest, and Northeast regions.

Experts at the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) predict that by 2050, as many as 1 in 3 Americans will have type 2 diabetes if current trends persist.  The disease is of such concern that the month of November was just proclaimed National Diabetes Month by President Obama.  The proclamation stated “Our efforts to promote greater awareness and pioneering research continue to drive our work toward lessening the impact of type 2 diabetes on our country. This month, we rededicate ourselves to that vital task and commend the dedicated professionals who are leading the charge against diabetes.”

Type 2 diabetes is chronic disease in which there are high levels of sugar in the blood. The National Institutes of Health says that diabetes contributes to problems with the kidneys, nerves, feet, and eyes and increases the risk for heart disease and bone and joint disorders. Other long-term complications of diabetes include skin problems, digestive problems, sexual dysfunction, and problems with the teeth and gums. As of 2010, 25.8 million people–or 8.3% of the U.S. population–had diabetes, according to the CDC. Based on the increases observed over the past 15 years, we could see millions more affected by the disease in the near future. Recent studies have shown that bariatric surgery is the best treatment for diabetes in many cases, and even may prevent diabetes from occurring in the first place.

Dr. Greg Walton, bariatric surgeon of WeightWise Bariatric Program in Oklahoma commented on the report. He told us that he and his partner at WeightWise, Dr. Toby Broussard, are elated to see more generalized press regarding the association of obesity and type 2 diabetes.  “Weight loss surgeons have long known this association”, he said.  “Bariatric surgeons experience the resolution of diabetes in post op patients; now we have double blind studies confirming the irrefutable superiority of weight loss surgery over “best medical treatment.”  Not only do obesity operations frequently resolve diabetes, but now evidence points to the operation preventing diabetes, as well.  Since we practice in Oklahoma, we obviously have work cut out for us,” Dr. Walton concluded.

The report was published in the Nov. 16 issue of the CDC journal Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Related Reading: Diabetes Epidemic Looming?

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