Type 2 diabetes soars -- and Type 1s lash out

Type 2 diabetes is rising -- markedly -- in the United States, and it’s fueling more than just costs associated with treating the disease.

It’s also fueling a backlash among some Type 1 diabetics. They bristle at being lumped in with the “lifestyle” crowd. Type 2 diabetics, whose bodies don’t produce insulin efficiently, can often control their disease by changing their diet and exercise habits. Not so Type 1 diabetics, whose bodies are unable to produce insulin.

In terms of a price tag, an analysis released Tuesday by healthcare insurer UnitedHealth Group says costs associated with this disease could hit $3.35 trillion by 2020 if current trends continue and half of Americans are diagnosed with diabetes or pre-diabetes.

“New estimates show diabetes and pre-diabetes will account for an estimated 10 percent of total health care spending by the end of the decade at an annual cost of almost $500 billion – up from an estimated $194 billion this year,” the study says in part. Read the full report here.

Those are sobering statistics to consider. Currently 27 million Americans have diabetes and an additional 67 million are estimated to have pre-diabetes, according to the study. The report also points to lifestyle changes and early intervention that could control the disease in people with or on the brink of Type 2 diabetes, often brought on by age and obesity.


But that message is fueling anger among those who are insulin dependent with Type 1 diabetes.

Julie Deardorff explains in this Chicago Tribune story: “As rates of Type 2 diabetes soar, tempers are flaring in the diabetes blogosphere, where many people with Type 1 diabetes are lobbying for a new, distinct name for their condition in hopes of clearing up misconceptions and securing more resources to put toward a cure.”

Read more about the different types of diabetes and treatments at