Skip to content

Diabetes Health Center

Font Size

Type 2 Diabetes: New Cases Rising

Obese Americans Show Greatest Increase, Researchers Report
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

June 19, 2006 -- New cases of type 2 diabetesdiabetes are rising dramatically among U.S. adults, a new study shows.

The study appears in the journal Circulation's rapid access online edition. It tracks new cases of type 2 diabetes in about 3,100 men and women from the 1970s through the 1990s.

The key finding? New cases (incidence) of diabetes doubled during the last 30 years, mainly among obese people, write Caroline Fox, MD, MPH, and colleagues.

Fox works with the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute's Framingham Heart Study, a long-term heart study based in Framingham, Mass. The new diabetes data comes from the adult children of Framingham Heart Study participants.

New Cases More Common

When the study started, none of the participants had diabetes. At least once a decade, the men and women got checkups for the study. Those checkups included three measurements: height, weight, and blood sugar levels after fasting.

The study included 1,587 women and 1,517 men, divided into three cohorts of similar age. At the start in each decade, participants in the group to be studied were about 47 years old.

In the group studied during the 1970s, type 2 diabetes was diagnosed in 2% of the women and 2.7% of the men. In the 1980s group, those figures rose to 3% for women and 3.6% for men. During the 1990s, the numbers were their highest in 30 years: 3.7% for women and 5.8% for men in that group.

Type 2 diabetes is more common than type 1 diabetes. In both types of diabetes, the body has trouble controlling blood sugar due to problems with insulin, a hormone that controls blood sugar.

In type 1 diabetes, the body loses its ability to make insulin. In type 2 diabetes, the body can still make insulin, but doesn't heed insulin like it should. As a result, the body has to ramp up insulin production and loses its ability to keep pace with demand, leading to high levels of blood sugar.

Is This Normal? Get the Facts Fast!

Check Your Blood Sugar Level Now
What type of diabetes do you have?
Your gender:

Get the latest Diabetes newsletter delivered to your inbox!


Your level is currently

If the level is below 70 or you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.

People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.

Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.

However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.

Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.

One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Did You Know Your Lifestyle Choices
Affect Your Blood Sugar?

Use the Blood Glucose Tracker to monitor
how well you manage your blood sugar over time.

Get Started

This tool is not intended for women who are pregnant.

Start Over

Step:  of 

Today on WebMD

Diabetic tools
Symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and more.
woman flexing muscles
10 strength training exercises.
Blood sugar test
12 practical tips.
Tom Hanks
Stars living with type 1 or type 2.
kenneth fujioka, md
Can Vinegar Treat Diabetes
Middle aged person
Home Healthcare

Prediabetes How to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
type 2 diabetes
food fitness planner