(NaturalNews) Diabetes is now being diagnosed at a rate 90 percent higher than it was a decade ago, according to a study conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 33 states and Puerto Rico.
Between 1995 in 1997, diabetes was being diagnosed at an annual rate of 4.8 new cases per 1,000 people. Between 2005 and 2007, the rate increased to 9.1 new cases per 1,000 people. An overwhelming 90 to 95 percent of these new cases are Type 2 diabetes, which is caused when the body loses its sensitivity to the blood sugar-regulating hormone insulin. Type 2 diabetes is strongly linked to obesity, and health experts attribute the rising rates of the disease to the ongoing U.S. obesity epidemic.
New cases of diabetes are most likely to be diagnosed in Puerto Rico, with 12.8 new cases per 1,000 people per year. Closely following was West Virginia, with an annual rate of 12.7 cases per 1,000 people. The other states in the top 10 were all in the south — Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas — with the exception of Arizona.
The lowest rate of new cases — only five per 1,000 people — was found in Minnesota.
People with diabetes also suffer a higher risk of heart disease, stroke, nerve and kidney damage, blindness and loss of limb than the rest of the population. According to the American Diabetes Association, roughly 8 percent of the U.S. population, or 23.6 million people, currently suffer from the disease.
The best way to prevent diabetes is to become more physically active and lose even a small amount of weight, doctors say.