Diabetes is a major killer the United States, thanks mostly to poor diet and lifestyle habits. According to new research, however, the problem is even deadlier than previously thought.
A Major Cause of Death
According to new analysis led by a Boston University researcher, diabetes is one of the country’s most dangerous killers. In fact, the numbers suggest it is the third-most common cause of death in the U.S. behind only heart disease and cancer.
Based on data from the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) and U.S. National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), the research showed that diabetes is responsible for 12 percent of all deaths in the U.S. What’s more, according to the researchers, the data suggest that American diabetics have a 90 percent higher death rate than people without diabetes.
Appearing in the journal PLOS One, the study cited data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which showed that U.S. cases of diabetes increased 300 percent from 1980 to 2014. While they can’t say for sure, the researchers theorize that rising obesity and diabetes rates are at least partly responsible for slowing life expectancy rates over the past decade.
Reducing Your Risk
Fortunately, there are a number of ways you can reduce your risk of developing diabetes. These include:
- Getting plenty of physical activity and maintaining a healthy body mass index (BMI)
- Eating foods high in fiber and limiting your portions with each meal
- Eating more whole grains, which may reduce the risk of diabetes by helping to maintain blood sugar levels
- Avoiding fad diets, which could have negative long-term effects on your health
When to See a Doctor
According to the American Diabetes Association, you should see your doctor for a blood glucose screening if:
- You are overweight
- You are older than 45
- You have one or more risk factors for type 2 diabetes, such as a family history and sedentary lifestyle
These days, it’s possible to manage diabetes through medications and lifestyle changes. That said, early detection is critical to avoiding potentially fatal or life-altering effects. If you are worried about your risk of diabetes, consult your doctor for an evaluation.