Obesity, sedate lifestyles drive diabetes crisis

One of every three people will get diabetes in their lifetime, and the disease can affect virtually every organ in the body. This three-part series examines the disease, which has caused a strain on local dialysis centers, an increase in amputations locally and a rise in the number of children with diabetes.

Local statistics

2008 percentage of adults diagnosed with diabetes:

• 8.5 to 10.1 percent in Stark, Tuscarawas, Wayne, Holmes and Carroll counties.

Percentage of adults who are obese:

• Stark, Wayne, Columbiana and Holmes counties, 30 percent.

• Carroll and Tuscarawas counties 26 to 30 percent.

Diabetes types

Type 1 (juvenile) diabetes occurs when the body’s immune system destroys cells making insulin, about 5 percent of all cases, occurs in all ages but primarily youth.

Type 2 (adult) 90 to 95 percent of cases, cells do not use insulin properly, pancreas loses ability to produce insulin. Highest risk are African-Americans, Latino/Hispanics, American Indians and Asian Americans.

Gestational diabetes is glucose intolerance during pregnancy, most common among obese women.

Pre-diabetes patients have blood-glucose levels higher than normal but below that of diabetics, often caused by obesity.

U.S. diabetes numbers

• 30 million Americans diagnosed, all ages, with 12 million elderly and 215,00 children.

• Some 16,000 youth diagnosed yearly with Type 1 diabetes and 3,600 with Type 2.

• 2 million new patients diagnosed yearly.

• 10 million undiagnosed cases, estimated.

• 80 million-plus with pre-diabetes, estimated.

Diabetes impact

• Total cost of the disease was about $200 billion in 2010. Medical expenses for diabetes patients are two times higher than those without the disease.

• Seventh-leading cause of death in the United States. In 2007, it was listed as a cause on 231,404 death certificates.

• Overall death rate is twice that of people of similar age but without diabetes.

• Blacks face 77 percent higher rate of diabetes than whites, followed by 18.7 percent for Latinos.

• 5 to 10 percent of women develop gestational diabetes after pregnancy.

Diabetes complications

• Heart disease and stroke, rate 2 to 4 times higher

• High blood pressure, rate 67 percent higher

• Blindness, 5 million patients

• Kidney disease, about 300,000 on chronic dialysis or kidney transplant.

• Lower limb amputations, 60 percent of them occur in diabetes patients.

Diabetes treatments

Type 1, must take insulin medication regularly.

Type 2, healthy meals, regular exercise, lose weight, take medications for blood pressure and cholesterol, may need insulin.

Diabetes prevention

• Lifestyle changes (losing weight, healthy diet, exercise) are more cost effective than medicines.

• Increased physical activity reduced development of Type 2 by 58 percent.

• Drug Metformin reduced or delayed onset by 31 percent.

Sources: National Institutes of Health, Centers for Disease Control, American Diabetes Association, Healthy Ohio Program