Over one third of all adults in the USA have pre-diabetes, a total of 79 million people, while the number estimated to have diabetes has risen to 26 million today, compared to 23.6 million in 2008, according to a new report issued by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).
Prediabetes is when blood sugar levels are too high, but not enough for a diagnosis of diabetes to be reached. One could say that a person with prediabetes nearly has diabetes, but not yet. Those with prediabetes have a significantly higher risk of developing diabetes type 2, as well as stroke and heart disease.
The report informs that:
- Approximately 8.3% of Americans of all ages are affected by diabetes
- 11.3% of Americans aged at least 20 years have diabetes
- Approximately 27% of Americans who have diabetes do not know
- 35% of individuals aged at least 20 in the USA have prediabetes
"These distressing numbers show how important it is to prevent type 2 diabetes and to help those who have diabetes manage the disease to prevent serious complications such as kidney failure and blindness. We know that a structured lifestyle program that includes losing weight and increasing physical activity can prevent or delay type 2 diabetes."
The CDC says it is following the requirements in the Affordable Care Act by working on the National Diabetes Prevention Program, designed to help Americans lower their risk of developing diabetes type 2.
The 2011 estimates have increased significantly compared to 2008 for several reasons, according to the CDC, including:
- A larger number of people are developing the disease
- Diabetes patients today have longer lifespans than before
- A new testing method - Hemoglobin A1c - is more accurate. Current estimates take this testing into account when working out national prevalence rates, resulting in higher figures.
Between 90% to 95% of all diabetes patients in the USA have diabetes type 2. An individual's risk of developing diabetes type 2 grows as he/she gets older, puts on a lot of weight, has a family history of the disease, had gestational diabetes (during pregnancy), and is physically inactive. Certain ethnic groups, such as African-Americans, American-Indians, Alaska Natives, Hispanics, Pacific Islanders, and Asian-Americans have a higher risk of developing diabetes type 2 than Caucasians.
The majority of the 215,000 patients under 20 who have diabetes have type 1. Type 1 is seen as an autoimmune disease where the body attacks the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas, destroying them. A person with type 1 diabetes does not produce insulin. This type of diabetes is not the result of lifestyle.
Approximately 1.9 million Americans were diagnosed with diabetes last year.
About half of all seniors (65+) in America have prediabetes.
Diabetes is the seventh biggest cause of premature death in America. An individual with diabetes has a higher risk of developing hypertension (high blood pressure), amputation of feet and legs, kidney failure, blindness, strokes, and heart attacks.
According to the CDC, diabetes carries a $174 billion cost in America every year, of which $116 are direct medical expenses.
Written by Christian Nordqvist