Though diabetes mellitus has a long history, today it is often linked to lifestyle choices, such as intake of calories and less frequent physical exercise. It occurs in varied amounts that are related to gender and age. With aging, the risk for type 2 diabetes increases, along with the risks for heart disease and stroke. Men are at a slightly higher risk. Overall, diabetes is projected to become the seventh leading global cause of death by the year 2030. It is already the seventh leading cause of death in the United States, where it makes up 12% of all deaths. Nearly half of all deaths occur in people under the age of 60 years. It is the most commonly diagnosed noncommunicable disease and also the fastest growing chronic disease.
The global epidemic of type 2 diabetes has been linked to the development of Westernized lifestyles and diet. In the United States, white, non-Hispanic children have the highest rates of type 1 diabetes, but the lowest rates of type 2 diabetes—this may prove the effects of diet in relation to the two forms. Diabetes shortens life expectancy by increasing risks for many severe conditions. In 1960, <1% of the United States population was affected by diabetes. Today, 10.79% of the population has diagnosed diabetes. A patient’s lifetime risk for developing type 2 diabetes is at 40% in the United States.