One-third of U.S. adults -- that's 73 million people -- have diabetes or its precursor, impaired fasting glucose, according to research.
A breakdown of the numbers shows that 19 million Americans have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, and one-third of them do not know they have the disease.
Another 26 percent of Americans have impaired fasting glucose, a form of pre-diabetes in which blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. Along with an increased risk of diabetes, impaired fasting glucose raises a person's risk of heart disease.
Based on the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, the prevalence of diagnosed diabetes in the nation rose from 5.1 percent from 1988-1994, to 6.5 percent from 1999-2002. When the 2.8 percent of undiagnosed cases is added in, the researchers said that a full 9.3 percent of the population has diabetes.
The researchers pointed out that type 2 diabetes is often preventable by following a healthy diet and exercising.
When I last wrote about this topic, the belief was that only 5 million Americans were undiagnosed with diabetes. Now, nearly five years later, that number has grown to almost 25 million.
Part of the reason for this increase is that there has been a greater appreciation of the reach of diabetes. Previously one was only classified as a diabetic if their fasting blood sugar was over 125.
But in the last five years a new diagnosis, pre-diabetes, has become popular. It is defined as those who have a fasting blood sugar of 110-125. The important point to remember here is fasting. If you simply take a random blood sugar it will give readings that are far too high. Fortunately, this is a relatively inexpensive test, and because it is so cheap if you are overweight you will want to regularly check your fasting blood sugar.
It would also be best to get the test done in a regular lab rather than use a home glucose monitoring unit, which are not typically as accurate or reliable, although they certainly would serve as a good screening device.
I thought creating a table might simplify the rating system for you.
Fasting Blood Sugar
What this blood sugar level means
You have full blown diabetes
Pre-diabetes, unless you change diet and exercise patterns you are a diabetic waiting to happen
Unhealthy blood sugar level, need to improve
Congratulations this is an ideal level
Hypoglycemia, blood sugar actually too low
So if you are overweight or are older than 45, you should have your fasting blood sugar checked every year to find out if you are at risk for this devastating disease, which can rob you of your kidneys and eyesight.
Diabetes is also the most common reason why people have their limbs amputated, and it can cause very painful and debilitating nerve conditions.
There is a CURE for Type 2 Diabetes
Even the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine has acknowledged that diet and exercise can completely eliminate diabetes. It is an artifact of poor lifestyle choices including processed foods and inadequate exercise.
This is very good news for nearly everyone reading this, including me. You see, my dad's side of my family are pasta-loving Italians, and most every one of my aunts and uncles have come down with or died from diabetes, including my father.
When I was foolish enough to believe the "Eat Right for Your Type" diet and followed the recommendations for blood type A -- that absolutely conflicted with my protein nutritional type status -- I developed diabetes.
My fasting blood sugar shot up to 126. Part of the problem is that the diet's author, D'Adamo, actually advocated mild exercising for blood Type A. So, I cut down my running and this resulted in a 20-pound weight gain and a diagnosis of diabetes.
This is one of the reasons I am so passionate about nutritional typing -- it worked not only for my patients but also for me personally.
I also have a great announcement for you. We have categorized many of the hundreds of articles on our Web site into a Diabetes sub section. If you or someone you know has diabetes, this is something that they will want to review.