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Number of diabetes cases to double in U.S.

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An article presenting research findings in the December issue of the journal ‘Diabetes Care’ says that by 2034, more than 44 million Americans will be living with diabetes, which is nearly twice as many as the 23-some million who suffer from it today. The article also states that 90 percent of those people affected will suffer from type 2 diabetes, the form of diabetes that develops over time and is influenced by many of the lifestyle choices Americans make each and every day.

Type 2 diabetes, or diabetes mellitus type 2, is the most common form of diabetes. Type 2 diabetes occurs when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin, or when the cells in the body ignore insulin. Essentially the body uses insulin to break down the sugar from food and transport it across the body to cells. This conversion of sugar and starches makes glucose, which is need for energy.

When the body’s cells do not obtain enough glucose due to a lack of insulin being produced, or when the cells ignore the insulin, it can have serious consequences. Firstly, the body’s cells begin starving. Secondly, having consistently high levels of glucose in the blood can seriously damage organs like kidneys, eyes, heart or even nerves.

While there are many factors that may cause type 2 diabetes, including genetics and high blood pressure, the most common cause for type 2 diabetes in the developed world is a poor diet and excess weight.

Weight increases the chances of an individual developing diabetes, because the more fatty tissue a person has, the more the cells will develop a resistance to insulin. The same goes for inactivity: the less sport you do and the less active you are, the higher your chances are of developing type 2 diabetes.

Interestingly enough, losing a few pounds of excess weight will already immensely decrease the chances of type 2 diabetes. Maybe this is something to think about the next time to go for a greasy cheeseburger and soft drink.

CNN.com also reports that because of the rise of patients with diabetes, the medical costs of treating this disease will triple.

Image: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Insulin_pen.JPG

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