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A Warning to 40 Year Olds

The release of the updated National Diabetes Fact Sheet in January 2011 — the previous one dates back to 2007 — underscores the need for Americans to pay more attention to their health, especially for those aged from 40 to 64, for the reasons given below.

The Fact Sheet statistics, summarized in publications of the American Diabetes Association, provide a truly alarming outline of the growing rate of diagnosed and undiagnosed diabetes and its related condition, now given the medical term of Prediabetes.

Diabetes is a serious disease that can occur in people of any age, from birth to old age. There are three main forms of the disease, referred to as Type-1 Diabetes that occurs most often in children and young adults, Type-2 Diabetes that occurs primarily in older people and is by far the major diabetic condition comprising about 90% of all diabetes cases. There is also another type called Gestational Diabetes, a mostly temporary condition that can develop in a small percentage of women during pregnancy.

From other information sources relating to the 2011 Diabetes Fact Sheet, I came across some significant details regarding age and prevalence. There were 3 groups defined by ages 20 to 44 years, 45 to 64 years, and people of age 65 and older.

Most diabetes occurs in the oldest group
Currently, in existing cases of diabetes, the incidence of diabetes increases with age. The smallest number of diabetic people are included in the 20 to 44 age group. About 4 times as many people are in the 45 to 64 age group and in the 65 years and older age group, there are most by a factor of twice as many as the younger 45 to 64 age group.

Estimated number of new cases
However, the statistics seem to indicate that things are changing. Here are the figures for the estimated number of new cases diagnosed for a more recent period for those same ages, note the numbers for group 2:

Group1: Age 20 to 44 – new cases of diabetes were 465,000
Group 2: Age 45 to 64 – new cases of diabetes were 1,052,000
Group 3: Age 65 and older – new cases of diabetes were 390,000

Conclusion and a warning
Diabetes starts a little earlier and gradually develops over time until it may be finally diagnosed by a doctor, sometimes without warning from any significant identifiable symptoms, although there are some when you know them.

The warning: Therefore, if you are over 40 years of age, overweight, and follow a lifestyle of little physical activity, take warning, see a doctor who can requisition a simple blood test that will show whether you are in the high risk Group 2, if not, there is still time to prevent it, but unfortunately, once diagnosed, there is no cure.

POSTED ON March 28, 2011,