Why Is Diabetes A Growing Problem In This Country?

Dr. Saudek answers the question: 'Why Is Diabetes A Growing Problem?'

ByChristopher D. Saudek, M.D., Hugh P. McCormick Family Professor of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

— -- Question: Why is diabetes a growing problem in this country?

Answer: Well, diabetes is a growing a problem not only in this country, but in fact around the world. Type 1 diabetes which is that juvenile onset diabetes, is increasing somewhat, and we really don't know why that is, but as we mention that is a relatively unusual form of diabetes, it's maybe 5 or 10 percent of diabetes.

The real cause of the epidemic of diabetes in the United States and around the world is increasing body weight, there's just no doubt about it, because when the body increases in size, when you get fatter and fatter, you become more and more resistant to insulin, you're no longer responding to insulin in a normal way. And that is the cause of diabetes because people's pancreases are limited, they can't keep putting out more and more insulin in order to overcome the obesity-caused resistance.

So whether you look around the world, at countries that are just beginning to become normal and overweight, or whether you look in the United States, where we are certainly becoming way too overweight as a population, the cause of diabetes is that overweight, and the insulin resistance that is caused by being overweight and obese.

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