Almost Half the US Population Has Diabetes or Its Precursor

Pam Harrison

July 19, 2017

Almost one in 10 US adults has diabetes, while more than one in three has prediabetes, indicates the latest National Diabetes Statistics Report by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

As of 2015, 30.3 million adults living in the United States or 9.4% of the population, have diabetes, according to the new report.

Moreover, nearly one in four adults living with diabetes, or 7.2 million American adults, are not aware that they have it.

Another 84.1 million have prediabetes, the report indicates.

And nine in 10 adults with prediabetes are not aware they have a condition that places them at high risk to progress to type 2 diabetes within 5 years, according to a statement by the CDC.

This is important, as the authors point out, because individuals with prediabetes can cut their risk of type 2 diabetes in half by being more active and making healthier food choices.

On the other hand, the rate at which new cases of diabetes are being diagnosed remains steady, with an estimated 1.5 million new cases of diabetes being spotted in American adults in 2015.

"Although these findings reveal some progress in diabetes management and prevention, there are still too many Americans with diabetes and prediabetes," Brenda Fitzgerald, MD, director of the CDC said in the statement.

"Now, more than ever, we must step up our efforts to reduce the burden of this serious disease," she added.

Native Americans Have Double the Risk of Diabetes Compared With Whites

The National Diabetes Statistics Report, which comes out approximately every 2 years, was published online July 18.

As the report notes, the likelihood that an individual will be diagnosed with diabetes increases with age and depends on race or ethnicity.

Of adults aged 18 to 44 years, only 4% were diagnosed with diabetes in 2015.

This rate increased to 17% for individuals aged 45 to 64 years, while for adults aged 65 years and older, 25% were diagnosed with diabetes in 2015.

Diabetes rates were also almost twice as high, at 15.1%, among Native Americans and Alaska Natives compared with non-Hispanic whites, at 7.4%, the report indicates.

Rates of diabetes were 12.7% among non-Hispanic blacks, 12.1% among Hispanics, and 8% among Asians, the authors add.

Diabetes prevalence also varied according to education level: 12.6% of adults with less than a high school education had diabetes compared with 7.2% of those with more than a high school education.

More men, at 36.6%, had prediabetes than women, at 29.3%, although rates of prediabetes were similar across racial and ethnic groups, as well as education levels.

The highest rates of established and new cases of diabetes occurred in the southern and Appalachian areas of the United States.


Cost of Treating Diabetes Is Extremely High

The CDC report also points out that the cost of treating diabetes in the United States is extremely high, at $245 billion, taking into account total medical costs as well as lost work and wages for those with diabetes.

The cost of caring for individuals with diabetes is more than twice the cost of caring for those without diabetes, and the mortality risk is also 50% greater for those with compared with those without diabetes.

Of all diabetes cases diagnosed in American adults, 95% were type 2 diabetes, but in 2011 and 2012, more than 5000 youth were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in each of those years.

"Consistent with previous trends, our research shows that diabetes cases are still increasing, although not as quickly as in previous years," said Ann Albright, PhD, RD, director of the CDC's division of diabetes translation, in a statement.

"[But because] diabetes is a contributing factor to so many other serious health conditions, by addressing diabetes, we limit other health problems such as heart disease, stroke, nerve and kidney diseases, and vision loss," she concluded.

The authors have reported no relevant financial relationships.

Natl Diabetes Stat Rep. Published online July 18, 2017. Report

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