Watch CBSN Live

Diabetes Cases On The Rise

As the United States continues to be an overweight nation, cases of diabetes are steadily increasing

At the American Diabetes Association's 67th Annual Scientific Sessions this past weekend, it was announced that type 2 diabetes has been increasing at about 5 percent annually since 1990. These statistics correlate with increases in obesity over that time.

On Monday's The Early Show, medical contributor Dr. Emily Senay detailed the news about the disease that affects more than 20 million Americans.

Type 2 diabetes, a non-genetic form of diabetes, tends to be the result of poor lifestyle choices, such as obesity resulting from poor diet and lack of exercise. While type 2 diabetes used to be found in adults over 40 years old, younger people, including teenagers, are increasingly developing the disease.

Those with the disease have been educating themselves more about it during the past five years. Research by Quest Diagnostics suggests that blood sugar levels by diabetes patients have improved by about 44 percent in that span. More than half of patients are controlling their sugar levels as they should, but millions still struggle.

According to Senay, men struggle with their diet discipline more than women. And both genders have more trouble during the winter than during warmer seasons.

Senay stressed that Americans need to lose excess weight, eat healthier and exercise in order to ward off type 2 diabetes.

"Moving just a little bit," Senay said, "can make a tremendous difference."

Researchers also announced that medications that regulate cholesterol may have an added benefit for diabetics. About half of people with diabetes suffer a form of nerve damage called peripheral sensory diabetic neuropathy. Research shows that cholesterol drugs, including statins, cut the risk of developing neuropathy.