By Peter Laird, MD
The precursors of chronic renal disease include diabetes, HTN which are both increasing at rapid levels due to the western nations bulging obesity epidemic. Most shocking, England has had a 50% increase in diabetes in the last 5 years alone:
The number of diabetes sufferers in Britain has risen by 50 per cent in just five years, fuelled by soaring levels of obesity, campaigners warn.
Some three million adults and children now have the condition, after an increase of more than 117,000 in the past 12 months alone.
The Diabetes UK charity warns that the NHS is now spending £9billion every year treating patients, which is almost a tenth of its budget. . .
Health experts blame the increase on rising levels of obesity, which is driven by junk food diets and a lack of exercise. Nearly a quarter of adults and a fifth of ten-year-olds are classified as being clinically obese, according to the latest NHS figures.
In many ways, diabetes is more than just an endocrine disease, it is a cardiovascular disease affecting the blood vessels throughout the body. The end organ damage of this condition leads to stroks, heart attacks, peripheral vascular disease causing gangrene in the toes and feet as well as blindness and chronic renal disease. In America, there are over 40% of patients on dialysis as a result of HTN and diabetes, most often caused by obesity. This epidemic of obesity will strain the health budgets of all these nations lending authorities advice to place an emphasis on prevention of end organ damage by more exercise, dietary moderation and weight loss.
The preventable complications of obesity underlies the importance of addressing this silent killer early in the lives of our children especially instilling a love of outdoor activities that now seem to be a way of the past. Shamefully, many people on dialysis could have avoided it altogether with some simple lifestyle changes. This is not only a burden personally to these patients, but to society as well. It is time to consider our own personal responsibility in our health care by first learning how to prevent these conditions.
In addition to the adverse cardiovascular end organ damage, obese patients also have a higher risk of several types of cancer. The epidemic will impact our health care system as it struggles to cope with these rapidly increasing chronic conditions. It may take a bit more than an apple a day to keep the doctor away, but simply eating well, exercise and seeking to control our weight will have a much larger postitive health impact that the expensive remedies for those that lose the function of some of their vital organs. Lastly, not only is this an epidemic impacting our economies, it is also a burgeoning epidemic of pain suffering and early death. I just did my 45 minutes of exercise today, how about you?