Diabetes disguised as ‘aging’

farmers in a cornfield


The prevalence of pre-diabetes has risen from 5.8 percent between 1988 and 1994, to 12.4 percent between 2005 and 2010.

Dr. Kathleen Figaro told Healthline that a shrinking “cost per calorie” ratio in our food is partly to blame for the increase. “There is an excess amount of corn being produced, and it has to go somewhere. It is being used to make high-fructose corn syrup that is added to foods and decreases the price per calorie,” she said.

As a result, we get dense, highly processed foods that are readily available, said Figaro. They can be bought cheaply in inner cities or other so-called “food deserts,” where access to quality, fresh foods is limited.

Diabetes occurs when the body does not process sugar properly. Nonwhites, people who are overweight, and those with a family history of diabetes are at a higher risk. Almost 26 million people in the U.S., or 8.3 percent of the population, have diabetes, according to the ADA. Type 2 diabetes tends to affect people as they get older. About seven million people in the U.S. have type 2 diabetes and don’t know it.

Symptoms that many people assume are just a natural part of getting older may actually point to diabetes. Everyone should be checked for diabetes by the age of 45, according to the ADA. A simple blood test is usually all that’s needed.