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Type-2 diabetes

Part 1

People who are overweight often go on to develop type-2 diabetes. For this reason, obesity is generally blamed for the condition. In fact, the two conditions are caused by the same thing: a diet high in carbohydrates. Obesity only seems to come first because it is easier to spot. As diabetics are much more prone to heart disease than non-diabetics, they too are told to eat a 'healthy' diet - which is actually what caused their condition in the first place.

Everyone knows that type-2 diabetes is an epidemic caused by the modern lifestyle and diet - everyone that is except doctors, according to a new study in which researchers discovered that doctors took a very casual view of the disease, often failing to suggest even a change of diet. [1]

Not that the doctor would have much to say even if he was prepared to offer advice from the goodness of his heart. Medical schools devote little time to diabetes treatment, and so doctors tend to learn about the disease while observing other physicians who, by and large, had the same teachers.

The scale of the problem

Diabetes was once a very rare condition, but it has become so common since the advent of 'healthy eating' that it will soon touch most people's lives as the numbers of cases are growing rapidly. The statistics are staggering. According to Diabetes UK, there are currently 1.4 million diagnosed diabetics in the UK, with a further million diabetics undiagnosed. And the rate is rising with three million diabetics expected by 2010. With 33,000 diabetic deaths in UK every year - that's one death in every 7 - diabetes is now reckoned to be the third leading cause of death after heart disease and cancer. Diabetics also account for 49,419,319 patient days in hospital, based on 1999/2000 figures. Globally, the WHO reckons that at least 171 million people have the disease, a figure that is expected to double by 2030.


1. Mitka M. Diabetes Management Remains Suboptimal: Even Academic Centers Neglect Curbing Risk Factors. JAMA 2005; 293: 1845-1846

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Last updated 23 January 2009

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