We are eating ourselves into an early grave, a leading diabetes expert has claimed. Professor Craig Currie from the Cardiff University said that people are refusing to take responsibility for their weight and the health consequences that go with it.
He said: ‘Essentially we are nation of lazy porkers. At a very young age we are getting a disease which could lead to a number of very severe complications.
The Professor believes the number of people under 40 diagnosed with type 2 diabetes over the last 20 years has almost tripled.
‘For every hundred cases 20 years ago there now would be 300 cases. In people under 40 years old for every 100 cases 20 years ago you’d get 600 cases.’
Dr Currie believes that despite knowing the risks, people are continuing to gain weight and refusing to take measures to prevent the resulting complications.’You’ve got to have lived on Mars if you don’t realize that being fat is going to cause you a few problems,’ he said.
‘There are things people won’t discuss, such as if you’re overweight your body won’t work.’
It is possible to develop type 2 diabetes and not be obese, but says Dr Currie, ‘the vast majority of people are what is called insulin resistant which develops because we are eating too much.
‘The body’s natural reaction is to defend itself to become insulin resistant and we become fatter and fatter.’
‘Normally when people get type 2 diabetes they are an older age and it can lead to large vessel disease, heart attacks, strokes and cancer.
‘But when you have sugar problems for many years you get micro vascular complications: diseases of the eye, kidney and peripheral neuropathy, so essentially you can get renal failure and blindness.’
‘People who are getting it much younger will have sugar problems for a much longer period, so are more likely to get these types of problems – and considerable premature mortality.’
‘They’re going to lose quite a few years off their life expectancy.’
‘You look at the US and a lot of Western countries and we’re all just getting fatter and fatter.
In many countries such as Mexico, diabetes has overtaken poverty-related infections to become the leading cause of death. According to a report adding weight to a World Health Organization warning, a devastating global diabetes epidemic is looming.
‘It seems so futile that we know about these things but we don’t do anything about it.’
25.8 million children and adults in the United States–8.3% of the population–have diabetes. 79 million people are in a prediabetic state. More than 2 million new cases of diabetes will be diagnosed in people aged 20 years and older by the end of 2013.
Nine out of ten people with diabetes have type 2, which occurs when the body gradually loses the ability to process blood sugar, which can damage the organs and lead to years of ill health.
It is strongly linked to lifestyle factors such as being overweight or obese, leading a sedentary lifestyle and eating an unhealthy diet. Dietary patterns which consist largely of processed foods and refined grains make up the bulk of cause and effect between diet and insulin resistance.
COMPLICATIONS OF DIABETES
Heart disease and stroke
In 2004, heart disease was noted on 68% of diabetes-related death certificates among people aged 65 years or older.
In 2004, stroke was noted on 16% of diabetes-related death certificates among people aged 65 years or older.
Adults with diabetes have heart disease death rates about 2 to 4 times higher than adults without diabetes.
The risk for stroke is 2 to 4 times higher among people with diabetes.
High blood pressure
In 2005-2008, of adults aged 20 years or older with self-reported diabetes, 67% had blood pressure greater than or equal to 140/90 mmHg or used prescription medications for hypertension.
Diabetes is the leading cause of new cases of blindness among adults aged 20–74 years.
In 2005-2008, 4.2 million (28.5%) people with diabetes aged 40 years or older had diabetic retinopathy, and of these, almost 0.7 million (4.4% of those with diabetes) had advanced diabetic retinopathy that could lead to severe vision loss.
Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure, accounting for 44% of new cases in 2008.
In 2008, 48,374 people with diabetes began treatment for end-stage kidney disease in the United States.
In 2008, a total of 202,290 people with end-stage kidney disease due to diabetes were living on chronic dialysis or with a kidney transplant in the United States.
Nervous system disease (Neuropathy)
About 60% to 70% of people with diabetes have mild to severe forms of nervous system damage.
More than 60% of nontraumatic lower-limb amputations occur in people with diabetes.
In 2006, about 65,700 nontraumatic lower-limb amputations were performed in people with diabetes.