Diabetes or Pre-Diabetes Now Strikes One in Four Americans

diabetes, type 1, type 2, pre-diabetesThe number of Americans with diabetes has grown to about 24 million people, or roughly 8 percent of the U.S. population.

A report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, based on data from 2007, indicates an increase of about 3 million cases since over just two years. The CDC estimates another 57 million people have a condition called pre-diabetes, which puts people at increased risk for the disease.

Diabetes results from defects in insulin production that cause sugar to build up in the body. It is the seventh leading cause of death in the U.S.

Dr. Mercola's Comments:

I have been interested in diabetes for many years and actually did three months of an endocrinology rotation at Cook County Hospital during my residency, 25 years ago. I was even going to specialize in it after I completed my residency, but decided to pursue general family medicine instead.

Interestingly, most of my paternal relatives (my dad included), have, or have died from, diabetes.  In the late 90s I made the mistake of believing in Dr. Dadamo’s work in Eat Right for Your Blood Type.  I since realized that it is a flawed theory based on incorrect presumptions. However, at the time I thought it made sense, so I tried it on myself. 

I am blood type A, so I switched to a high grain diet and changed my high intensity aerobic type exercises to walking like he suggested. Well, in a few short weeks my fasting blood sugar rose to nearly 130.  This told me two things. The first was that I had diabetes, and the second was that Eat Right for Your Blood Type is a flawed theory that helps some, but can really harm and damage others.

Once I understood insulin physiology better and changed my diet  and exercise, nearly ten years ago now; my fasting blood sugar is almost always around 90 or lower. This is far below the 125 required for a diagnosis of diabetes.

My personal experience with diabetes and review of the literature made it VERY clear to me that virtually every case of type 2 diabetes is 100 percent reversible.

And let me guarantee you, the cure for type 2 diabetes has NOTHING to do with giving insulin.  Giving someone insulin with type 2 diabetes is one of the WORST things that can be done. Any physician doing this is suffering from profound ignorance of insulin physiology.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of physicians are still seriously confused about this issue, which is why most doctors cause diabetics to D. I. E

Diabetes Epidemic Continues to Worsen

The latest statistics on diabetes in the U.S. are sad indeed, and in my opinion, they are a very clear sign that conventional medicine has it all wrong, and their standard recommendations – both in terms of medication and nutrition -- are incorrect.

At best, they simply do not work. At worst, they’re aggravating your problem and speeding up the deteriorating disease process.

By some estimates, diabetes has increased more than 700 percent in the last 50 years. What does this tell you about the advice you’ve been given and the direction you’ve been led in by conventional medicine?

There’s no doubt in my mind that if government agencies and the medical community would do the right thing; i.e. stop catering to the greedy demands of the industries of sugar, grain and pharmaceuticals, and start issuing recommendations that actually promote health rather than deteriorating it further, this modern epidemic would be curbed in fairly short order.

The 2007 Stats on Diabetes

The latest statistics on diabetes indicate that the U.S. now has as many as 24 million people with diabetes, or 8 percent of our total population.

Juvenile-onset (type 1) diabetes accounts for 5 to 10 percent of all diagnosed cases of diabetes, with adult-onset (type 2) accounting for the remaining 90 to 95 percent.

However, a closer look shows that the situation is more bizarre than that, because the average of 8 percent includes all age groups, including children under the age of 10, where the disease rate is still very low.

When you look at the numbers of adults aged 20 and over, the incidence rate is almost 11 percent. And when you look at seniors aged 60 and up, the prevalence is over 23 percent! That’s pretty incredible.

(Add to that the fact that the average senior (65+) is on 28 pharmaceutical drugs and it’s no wonder so few people live more than a decade past their retirement…)

The statistics are even more grim when it comes to the prevalence of pre-diabetes (impaired fasting glucose).

Almost 26 percent of U.S. adults over the age of 20 are pre-diabetics, and more than 35 percent of seniors, 60 and older. In total, that’s 57 million Americans walking around with pre-diabetes, in addition to the 24 million that have already crossed the line.

According to the population clock on the U.S. Census Bureau’s web site, the U.S. currently has just over 304,554,800 people. So, by my calculations we’re looking at a total of just over 26.5 percent of the entire U.S. population having either pre-diabetes, or some form of diabetes.


Folks, this is no accident. These kinds of statistics clearly show that we’re actively being led astray.

You must understand and accept that aside from the juvenile-onset variety (which is relatively rare), type 2  diabetes is 100 percent preventable AND reversible by some fairly simple lifestyle changes, all of which are outlined and discussed in detail in my Total Health Program.

Many of the conventional recommendations for treating diabetes are simply wrong, and I discussed the reasons why in this previous article. If you missed it, or need a refresher, please review it again.

Why is Diabetes Such a Dangerous Disease?

Diabetes has become so common that many don’t even bat an eyelash anymore. It’s almost as if diabetes has become “ok.” Just take your meds and you’ll be fine.

Not so!

Aside from the potentially deadly side effects of diabetes drugs, which I’ve covered in previous articles, the additional health complications that diabetes fosters are multiple, and quite serious, including:

  • Heart disease and stroke – Death from heart disease and risk for stroke is two to four times higher among people with diabetes
  • High blood pressure – 75 percent of diabetics have high blood pressure (130/180 mm Hg or higher)
  • Blindness -- Diabetes is the leading cause of new cases of blindness among adults aged 20 to 74 years
  • Kidney disease – Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure. In 2005, more than 45,700 people began treatment for end-stage kidney disease in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, and another 178,700 were living on chronic dialysis
  • Nervous system disease -- About 60 to 70 percent of people with diabetes have mild to severe forms of nervous system damage such as: impaired sensation or pain in hands or feet, poor digestion, carpal tunnel syndrome and erectile dysfunction
  • Amputations – In 2004, 71,000 lower limb amputations due to diabetes were performed in the U.S.
  • Dental disease -- Almost one-third of people with diabetes have severe periodontal disease
  • Pregnancy complications -- Poorly controlled diabetes before conception and during the first trimester of pregnancy among women with type 1 diabetes can cause major birth defects in 5 to 10 percent of pregnancies, and spontaneous abortions in 15 to 20 percent of pregnancies

Putting a Price Tag on Diabetes 

There’s yet another updated study that warrants mentioning here: the American Diabetes Association’s (ADA) study on Economic Cost of Diabetes in the U.S. in 2007.  

The total estimated cost of diabetes in the U.S. in 2007 tallies up to $174 billion. This includes $ 116 billion in excess (read: unnecessary) medical expenditures, and $58 billion in reduced national productivity. 

Having diabetes not only plunders your health, but your pocketbook too. People with diagnosed diabetes incur an average medical expense of $11,744 per year, almost 2.5 times higher than those who do not have diabetes.

Follow the Bread Crumbs

The concept that diabetes is NOT a blood sugar disease is one that I keep striving to make well-known. As you can see by the numbers above, understanding the TRUE underlying cause of diabetes has the potential to save hundreds of thousands, even millions, of lives.

Type 2 diabetes is a disease caused by insulin resistance and faulty leptin signaling, both of which are regulated through your diet.

Until that concept becomes well-known in both the medical community and by the public at large, the misconception about what diabetes is and the appropriate way to treat it will continue to be promoted.

Conventional treatment that is focused on fixing the symptom of elevated blood sugar, rather than addressing the underlying disease, is doomed to fail in most cases. Treatments that concentrate merely on lowering blood sugar while raising insulin levels can actually worsen rather than remedy the actual problem of metabolic miscommunication. It just trades one evil for another.

Since most treatments for type 2 diabetes utilize drugs that either raise insulin or lower blood sugar, the tragic result is that the typical, conventional medical treatment for diabetes contributes to the additional diseases and the shortened lifespan that diabetics experience.

For the last 50 years or so, Americans have followed the dietary recommendations of a high complex carbohydrate, low saturated fat diet.

As an example, WebMD; one of the most visited medical information sites on the web, states that people with diabetes, who also have abnormal cholesterol levels, would be well advised to follow a diet that calls for 50 to 60 percent of your daily total calories to be in the form of carbohydrates.

That’s absurd.

They also state that table sugar is okay, as long as you readjust your medications to compensate appropriately (i.e. take more drugs to increase your fat cell storage capacity). Using toxic artificial sweeteners in lieu of sugar also gets the green light.

Folks, many of these recommendations are not based on what’s nutritionally healthy. They’re based on industry lobbying – just like the USDA’s Food Pyramid, which is fraught with industry conflicts of interest.

The proof is in the pudding as they say, and concomitant with the standard nutritional recommendations the incidence of diabetes and obesity has skyrocketed, and has become one of the worst epidemics the world has ever seen.

Eating a high "complex" carbohydrate, low saturated fat diet for health and longevity has been shown to be wrong. Minimal common sense would say to try something else.

How to Avoid Becoming a Statistic

Getting appropriate and regular amounts of exercise, and adopting an eating plan that emphasizes good fats, and reduced non-fiber carbohydrates and starches as outlined in my Total Health Program, can place you on the right path. Doing so will greatly improve and even reverse type 2 "insulin resistant" diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, many other chronic diseases of aging, all without the use of potentially dangerous drugs.

+ Sources and References