More Diabetics in 2050

Federal officials estimate that by the year 2050, as many as one in three U.S. adults could have diabetes. While the predictions are alarming, one Houston endocrinologist says there are simple ways to ensure that doesn't happen. Pat Hernandez has more.

It's estimated that 24-million Americans have diabetes, and one-quarter of them do not know it. A report by the CDC, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, predicts that the rate of new diabetes cases will increase annually, from 8 per  1,000 people in 2008, to 15 per 1,000 in 2050. Doctor Cristina Boccalandro with the Texas Endocrinology Group says she isn't surprised.

"Actually not. This is something that has been up and coming at least for the past ten years in the medical literature."

She says according to the report, the prevalence of diabetes is expected to rise sharply owing to an aging population, increases of type-2 diabetics among minorities — African Americans and Hispanics — and greater longevity
for people living with diabetes.

"In order to become diabetic, you have to have some genetic predisposition to get it, but normally, your genes wouldn't get activated, or wouldn't make you diabetic until you gain weight and become more inactive when you're around 50 or 60 years old, but the problem is that the kids these days when they're 5 or 10 are much less active than before so, the environment kicks in a lot earlier than before."

Dr Boccalandro says it shows how critical it is for people to improve their lifestyle choices on eating and physical activity.

"Medications are good and helpful surgery will definitely solve the problem, but somehow the change has to come also from nutrition and exercise and changing lifestyle, because you have a limit with what you can do with medications and surgery. And the rest at some point, something is going to have to change."

More information can be found at www.cdc.gov/media/pressrel/2010/r101022.html and at Dr. Boccalandro's website at www.txendocrine.com.
 

Bio photo of Pat Hernandez

Pat Hernandez

Reporter

Pat Hernandez is a general assignments reporter who joined the KUHF news staff in February of 2008...