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America’s Diabetes Surge

Diabetes in America. Type 2 is a symptom and a disease. Type 1 may have some new answers.

In this file photo, 7-year-old Ellie Clark holds her insulin pump, which also works with an implant to display blood sugar levels, Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2007, in Grandville, Mich. New treatments in diabetes care could allow patients like Clark to use artificial pancreas devices to better control their blood sugar levels and insulin intake. (AP)

In this file photo, 7-year-old Ellie Clark holds her insulin pump, which also works with an implant to display blood sugar levels, Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2007, in Grandville, Mich. New treatments in diabetes care could allow patients like Clark to use artificial pancreas devices to better control their blood sugar levels and insulin intake. (AP)

If diabetes were an infectious disease, the media would be going crazy over it.  Twenty-nine million American adults affected.  The numbers surging, up another nine percent since 2010.  Terrible risks:  stroke, blindness, kidney failure, amputation.  Cost to the US economy – nearly $250 billion a year.  But diabetes isn’t infectious.  Type 1, just five percent of cases, comes on in childhood.  Type 2 – the big numbers – is practically a lifestyle disease.  Poor diet, obesity, lack of exercise – and millions are at risk.  This hour On Point:  America’s diabetes boom, and what to do about it.

— Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Dr. Robin Goland, professor of clinical medicine and pediatrics at Columbia University. Co-director of the Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center.

Kelly Brownell, professor and dean of the school of public policy at Duke University.

Dr. Steven Russell, endocrinologist at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Edward Damiano, associate professor of bio-medical engineering at Boston University.

From Tom’s Reading List

Center For Disease Control: National Diabetes Statistics Report, 2014  — “During 2008–2009, an estimated 18,436 people younger than 20 years in the United States were newly diagnosed with type 1 diabetes annually, and 5,089 people younger than 20 years were newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes annually. During 2008–2009, an estimated 18,436 people younger than 20 years in the United States were newly diagnosed with type 1 diabetes annually, and 5,089 people younger than 20 years were newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes annually.”

Bloomberg: Best Bet to Stall Diabetes Remains Diet With Exercise — “Diet and exercise remain the best bet for staving off diabetes in patients at risk for the disease, according to a 15-year follow up on a landmark study that set lifestyle intervention as an effective approach. Study participants who lost weight and increased physical activity had a 27 percent lower rate of developing Type 2 diabetes, compared with 17 percent of those given metformin, a first-line drug to lower blood sugar. The research was reported today at the American Diabetes Association meeting in San Francisco.”

Boston Globe: Artificial pancreas offers hope to diabetes patients — “An artificial pancreas developed by Boston researchers shows considerable promise to dramatically change the treatment of type 1 diabetes, potentially enabling 2 million Americans to eat what they want without counting carbohydrates or calculating insulin injections, researchers announced Sunday. Investigators from Massachusetts General Hospital and Boston University developed the experimental device, which consists of an automated pump that releases the hormones insulin and glucagon and a glucose monitoring system controlled by an iPhone app.”

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