Scottsdale, Arizona - With more than 30 million Americans and 500 million people worldwide diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, Dr. Robert Rizza, a Mayo Clinic endocrinologist, says it's time to start calling Type 2 diabetes an epidemic. He says the fact that people are being diagnosed at younger ages more commonly than ever only strengthens the argument that the world is facing an epidemic.
When people talk about Type 2 diabetes, most think of older people. But more and more young people in their 30s, 20s or even their teens are being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.
"The driving force of this is the fact that the pancreas has got to pour out extra insulin because people's bodies are large, and the insulin doesn't work – so-called insulin resistance, and the pancreas cannot keep up," Dr. Rizza says.
He says the reason for the drastic increase in cases of Type 2 diabetes is simple.
"People are obese, and they're sedentary."
"It is a major problem," he says "And, of course, if you get this disease when you're 15, and then you talk about the risk of heart attacks and eye problems is very high – sometimes for the rest of your life."
But Dr. Rizza says there are things people can do to reverse this trend. The most important thing: Get moving.
"Everybody should get up and walk each day, walk a certain – you know, 30, 40, 50 minutes a day," he says. "You should be sure that you're eating enough food to keep you healthy but not too much food. We should talk about it."