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Diseases like diabetes expected to soar among older Americans

As Americans age, an increasing number of cases of diabetes are expected to be diagnosed in the coming decades.

McKinsey analysts predict that age-related diseases like diabetes or kidney disease could increase by 60% by 2040 globally. By that time, one in six people in the world will be over 60 years old.

Rhianna Jones, registered nurse at CanXida, said a combination of lifestyle factors, dietary habits and societal changes will contribute to the growing number of diabetics and other age-related illnesses in less than 20 years .

In the United States in particular, the problem is likely to be exacerbated by lifestyle.

Diabetes
A man looks at his insulin pump. A combination of diet and lifestyle factors could lead to a significant increase in age-related diseases like diabetes by 2040. (Photo illustration by Matt Harbicht/Getty Images for Tandem…


“American lifestyles often involve less physical activity due to the convenience of technology, sedentary jobs and screen time,” Jones said. News week. “Lack of exercise is a known risk factor for various age-related diseases, including diabetes.”

The standard American diet is also prone to processed foods, refined sugars and unhealthy fats, Jones said. Together, this can create a perfect storm for obesity and insulin resistance.

This does not mean, however, that there is no environmental component.

“Exposure to preservatives, additives and toxins found in the environment and food supply may also play a role in increasing chronic diseases,” Jones said. “These substances can impact metabolic processes and contribute to inflammation.”

Even rising rates of depression and anxiety could increase disease rates, as these conditions are often linked to excessive eating or poor sleep, contributing to the global health crisis.

Diabetes usually occurs when the body does not produce enough insulin to regulate blood sugar levels. While type 1 mainly occurs in children when cells in the pancreas become damaged, type 2 can occur after years of poor diet and physical activity. At this point, the body has difficulty responding to insulin.

In the United States, approximately 38.4 million people have diabetes, according to the CDC. This number, which continues to grow with obesity, represents 11.6 percent of the population.

Even aside from population aging, the CDC predicts that up to 220,000 young people could have type 2 diabetes in 2060, which is a whopping 700 percent increase.

“This new research should serve as a wake-up call to all of us. It is critical that we focus our efforts on ensuring that all Americans, especially our young people, are in the healthiest possible health,” said Debra Houry, Principal Deputy Director Acting Director of the CDC. in a report.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the critical importance of tackling chronic diseases, such as diabetes. This study further highlights the importance of continued efforts to prevent and manage chronic diseases, not only for our current population but also for generations to come.

What the future looks like

If rates of age-related diseases like diabetes explode by more than 60 percent in a few decades, the health care system could look very different.

Jones said this would create an increased need for medical interventions, medications and long-term care, meaning the average American could see much higher health care costs,” Jones said. chronic diseases. This could affect the availability of health care services for other medical conditions. »

According to Kirat Kharode, CEO of HealCo and Pinewood Family Care Co., the alarming rise in age-related illnesses is a sign that innovative change is needed in the healthcare system, with direct primary care and businesses between networks of independent doctors and employers. becoming essential.

“The increasing prevalence of chronic diseases threatens to overwhelm our health care infrastructure, worsen health inequities, and impose a substantial economic burden due to escalating health care costs and reduction of labor productivity,” Kharode said. News week.