The number of Americans living with diabetes has skyrocketed in the past two decades, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
In 1997, when the CDC first started tracking diabetes in America, 5.1 percent of adults had been diagnosed with the disease. In 2015, that number had reached 9.7 percent and may be much higher. According to the American Diabetes Association, an estimated 8.1 million Americans are diabetic and don’t know it.
Diabetes occurs when the body cannot produce enough insulin to control blood sugar levels. When left untreated, complications from diabetes can be dangerous, if not fatal. High blood sugar levels cause damage to the kidneys, leading to kidney failure.
The shocking rise in diabetes is likely related to the increasing rates of obesity in America, as obesity is a leading risk factor for the disease. According to the CDC report, obesity rates are higher than they’ve ever been. The Obesity Society suggests that as many as 90 percent of people living with type 2 diabetes are overweight or obese. Excess abdominal fat makes it difficult for the pancreas to produce insulin, the hormone that controls blood sugar. This is why diabetes is so common among people who are overweight.
If you have a family history of diabetes or heart disease, you should be screened for diabetes starting at age 30. Early screening is also encouraged for those whose birth weight was more than 9 pounds, as large babies may have a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes in adulthood.
Weight loss surgery can be an effective treatment option for diabetes, even for patients who are mildly obese. Not only can losing weight help manage or prevent diabetes, but bariatric surgery is thought to also help in the treatment of the disease by “affecting hormones, gut bacteria and other substances that affect how the body handles insulin and blood sugar,” according to a report by NBC News.
Multiple international diabetes organizations, including the American Diabetes Association and the International Diabetes Federation, endorse bariatric surgery as a viable treatment for diabetes in obese patients. Although surgery is not considered a cure because some people do relapse, studies have shown that a majority of obese diabetics who undergo weight loss surgery see dramatic improvements in their blood sugar levels.
If you have diabetes or a family history of the disease, contact McCarty Weight Loss Center to learn how bariatric surgery can help reduce your risk for diabetes and improve your health.