Today he comments on last week’s study that led to all of the news coverage claiming that half of all Americans have diabetes or pre-diabetes.
Now when I read most of the literature about diabetes I feel as if I’m trapped in revival meeting of a religion that I don’t belong to. Why does having abnormal glucose tests cost the USA $245bn? Does everybody beyond these threshold values pose an inevitable burden on the US economy? Wouldn’t it be better to do fewer of these tests and so reduce costs and spare a lot of people from needless anxiety and futile treatment? I turned in vain to the editorial on this study, with the alluring title “Prevalence of Diabetes in the United States: A Glimmer of Hope?”
It begins: “Obesity is a major risk factor for type 2 diabetes” and goes on to point out that between 1980 and 2000 the prevalence of obesity in the USA doubled, but since then seems to have reached a plateau with 35% of US adults aged 20 years or older estimated to be obese. And the prevalence of diabetes seems to have actually decreased a bit since 2008, despite a higher level of detection. The American Medical Association, the author notes with approval, has classed obesity as a disease. Well, anything for a crazy society to change its habits I suppose. Maybe it would help if the AMA classed gun ownership as a disease. I feel disoriented in a strange world of category errors and reversed logic. Somebody please help me. Just what is this “type 2 diabetes”?
And we also published a related podcast with Dr. John S. Yudkin of University College, London, about pre-diabetes and “the idolatry of the surrogate.”
If you’re interested, here’s more on that estimate of $245 billion per year for the total costs of diagnosed diabetes in the US.