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CDC Report: More Than 29 Million Americans Have Diabetes; 1 in 4 Doesn’t Know

Prevention efforts crucial to combat health risks

More than 29 million people in the U.S. have diabetes, up from the previous estimate of 26 million in 2010, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). What’s more, one in four people with diabetes doesn’t know he or she has the disease.

Another 86 million adults — more than one in three U.S. adults — have prediabetes, in which their blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be classified as type 2 diabetes. Without weight loss and moderate physical activity, 15% to 30% of people with prediabetes will develop type 2 diabetes within 5 years.

“These new numbers are alarming and underscore the need for an increased focus on reducing the burden of diabetes in our country,” said Ann Albright, PhD, RD, director of the CDC’s Division of Diabetes Translation. “Diabetes is costly in both human and economic terms. It’s urgent that we take swift action to effectively treat and prevent this serious disease.”

Key findings from the National Diabetes Statistics Report, 2014 (based on health data from 2012) include:

  • 29 million people in the U.S. (9.3%) have diabetes.
  • 1.7 million people 20 years of age or older were newly diagnosed with diabetes in 2012.
  • Non-Hispanic black, Hispanic, and American Indian/Alaska Native adults are approximately twice as likely to have diagnosed diabetes as non-Hispanic white adults.
  • 208,000 people younger than 20 years of age have been diagnosed with diabetes (type 1 or type 2).
  • 86 million adults 20 years of age or older have prediabetes.
  • The percentage of U.S. adults with prediabetes is similar to that for non-Hispanic whites (35%), non-Hispanic blacks (39%), and Hispanics (38%).

Diabetes is a serious disease that can be managed through physical activity, diet, and appropriate use of insulin and oral medications to lower blood sugar levels, the CDC says. Another important part of diabetes management is reducing other cardiovascular disease risk factors, such as hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, and tobacco use.

People with diabetes are at increased risk of serious health complications, including vision loss; heart disease; stroke; kidney failure; the amputation of toes, feet, or legs; and premature death.

According to the CDC, diabetes and its related complications accounted for $245 billion in total medical costs and in lost work and wages in 2012. This figure was up from $174 billion in 2007.

Source: CDC; June 10, 2014.

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