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Study: Two in Five Americans at Risk of Type-2 Diabetes

Authors warn of increasing health costs

Two in five American adults are expected to develop type-2 diabetes in their lifetime, according to a new study published in The Lancet, which warned of spiraling health costs as a result.

The risk was even higher for Hispanics and black women, half of whom are expected to develop the disease.

The authors used data regarding diabetes incidence from the National Health Interview Survey together with data about mortality from 1985 to 2011 for 598,216 adults to estimate the remaining lifetime diabetes risk, the years spent with and without diagnosed diabetes, and life-years lost due to diabetes in three cohorts: 1985–1989, 1990–1999, and 2000–2011.

On the basis of the 2000–2011 data, the lifetime risk of diagnosed diabetes from age 20 years was 40.2% for men and 39.6% for women, representing increases of 20% and 13%, respectively, since 1985–1989, the researchers found.

“The largest increases were in Hispanic men and women, and in non-Hispanic black women, for whom the lifetime risk now exceeds 50 percent,” the authors noted.

In addition, because of the increasing prevalence of diabetes, the average number of years lost due to the disease for the population as a whole increased by 46% in men and by 44% in women. The years spent with diabetes increased by 156% in men and 70% in women.

“As the number of diabetes cases continues to increase and patients live longer, there will be a growing demand for health services and extensive costs,” said lead author Edward Gregg, PhD, of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 347 million people worldwide have diabetes, which claimed about three million lives in 2010. Ninety percent of those individuals had type-2 diabetes, which the WHO said is largely the result of excess body weight and physical inactivity.

Sources: Lancet; August 13, 2014; and Medical Xpress; August 12, 2014.

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