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It seems like diabetes statistics only move in one direction—up. New figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reinforce that perception, though there’s also a bit of encouraging news.
In its 2017 National Diabetes and Statistics Report, the CDC estimates more than 100 million people in the United States have diabetes or prediabetes. That includes 30.3 million who have diabetes—about nine percent of the population—and 84.1 million with prediabetes.
The figures come from data gathered in 2015, the latest year for which information is available.
Digging deeper into the numbers
While the number of people with diabetes continues to grow, the rate of new diabetes diagnoses remains steady—an improvement over sizable rate increases seen in previous years. Also, the number of adults with prediabetes dropped from 86 million in 2010 to an estimated 84.1 million today.
“Although these findings reveal some progress in diabetes management and prevention, there are still too many Americans with diabetes and prediabetes,” said CDC Director Brenda Fitzgerald, MD. “More than a third of U.S. adults have prediabetes, and the majority don’t know it. Now, more than ever, we must step up our efforts to reduce the burden of this serious disease.”
Related health risks
Prediabetes (blood sugar levels moderately higher than normal) often leads to type 2 diabetes if it isn’t treated.
In addition to the tens of millions who don’t realize they have prediabetes, an estimated 7.2 million U.S. adults have diabetes and don’t know it. Resulting lack of treatment makes serious health consequences more likely for both groups. Poorly controlled diabetes, whether type 1 or type 2, can lead to life-threatening complications.
“Diabetes is a contributing factor to so many other serious health conditions,” said Ann Albright, PhD, RD, director of CDC’s Division of Diabetes Translation. “By addressing diabetes, we limit other health problems such as heart disease, stroke, nerve and kidney diseases, and vision loss.”
The report also found:
- An estimated 1.5 million people were newly diagnosed with diabetes in 2015.
- Diabetes rates increase with age. Only four percent of adults ages 18–44 had diabetes; the rate increased to 17 percent for ages 45–64 and 25 percent in those 65 or older.
- Diabetes was most often diagnosed in American Indians and Alaska Natives (15.1 percent), non-Hispanic blacks (12.7 percent), and Hispanics (12.1 percent), compared to Asians (8.0 percent) and non-Hispanic whites (7.4 percent).
- Prediabetes was found in more men (36.6 percent) than women (29.3 percent), with similar rates among men and women of all racial and ethnic groups.
Feeling your best
Knowing the early symptoms of diabetes is key to protecting your health—or someone you know who may be at risk. Among the signs are:
- Increased thirst and urination
- Increased hunger
- Blurred vision
- Numbness or tingling in feet or hands
- Sores that do not heal
- Unexplained weight loss
If you are diagnosed with diabetes, it’s reassuring to know that the condition can usually be well controlled with diet, exercise, medication if necessary, and advice from qualified healthcare professionals.
Did you miss any warning signs before you were diagnosed with diabetes? Share your story by commenting below.