The Diabetes Epidemic Has Doubled in America
July 04, 2006
In the past 30 years, new cases of type 2 diabetes have doubled, with most diagnoses occurring in people who are obese, according to findings from the Framingham Offspring Study.
The study involved over 3,000 participants -- with an average age of 47 -- who enrolled in the Framingham study, free from diabetes, in the 1970s, '80s or '90s. They were then followed for eight-year periods to document the occurrence of diabetes.
In the '70s, 2 percent of women and 2.7 percent of men had diabetes. By the '90s, the rates had grown to 3.7 percent and 5.8 percent, respectively. Likewise, by the 1980s the risk of developing diabetes had increased by 40 percent; by the 1990s, the risk skyrocketed 105 percent, compared to the '70s.
Although obesity was a major factor, changes in diet -- such as drinking more sugary beverages -- and physical activity also contributed to the increase, independent of weight gain.
Four New Diabetes Drugs
Diabetes drugs bring in $15 billion a year, and the market is expected to reach at least $25 billion by 2011. Four new diabetes drugs are also being released, which some say could help control diabetes in 90 percent or more of patients. The drugs include:
- Byetta, given by injection and already on the market
- Exubera, insulin that is inhaled and already approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
- Galvus, a pill form awaiting FDA approval
- Januvia, another pill awaiting FDA approval
Analysts estimate that each of the drugs will be "blockbusters," bringing in over $1billion in worldwide sales each, and will cost $1,500 to $2,000 more per patient per year than existing diabetes drugs.