Diabetes by the Numbers
Do you pay attention to health news? If so, you may know that the diabetes epidemic is enormous! Nearly 1 in 10. That’s how many people have diabetes in the United States.1
Fortunately, the number of new diabetes cases fell an average of 5.4 percent between 2008 and 2012. Researchers think some of this success is due to overall declines in obesity rates.2
Some racial and ethnic groups, though, are still seeing a rise in diabetes rates. Native Americans have twice the rate of diabetes as non-Hispanic whites. Hispanics and non-Hispanic blacks don’t fare much better.1 Perhaps most humbling of all, researchers predict that half of black women and Hispanic men and women will develop type 2 diabetes during their lifetime.3
Could you be one of the 8.1 million Americans who has diabetes but doesn’t know it?1 Diabetes may sneak up on you in the form of prediabetes. It causes high blood sugar and an increased risk of type 2 diabetes. That’s when your body doesn’t use the hormone insulin the right way. Lifestyle changes that increase activity and take off extra weight can often prevent prediabetes from becoming full-blown diabetes.1 In fact, the National Diabetes Prevention Program has cut people’s risk of type 2 diabetes in half with diet and exercise.2
Clearly, lifestyle changes can make a huge difference. They can help prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes. That’s why a U.S. task force now recommends that every American over age 45 be screened for both prediabetes and type 2 diabetes.4
That’s how much money people spent on diabetes medical care in 2012. Those with diabetes, on average, spend more than twice that of people without the condition.1
According to the CDC, diabetes was the seventh leading cause of death in the U.S. in 2010.1 Together, let’s make sure this statistic doesn’t include you. See your doctor to be screened for diabetes, especially if you are obese, have a family history of diabetes, or are over age 45.
Don’t waste any time getting to your doctor if you have symptoms of diabetes. These may include:
- Needing to urinate often
- Extreme thirst
- Feeling very hungry, even after eating
- Feeling very tired
- Blurred vision
- Cuts or bruises that heal slowly5
If you don’t manage diabetes well, you’re at risk for serious complications. These can range from skin infections and nerve damage to vision loss and kidney disease—and, yes, even death. 6 Healthy eating and exercise is a winning combination for some people with type 2 diabetes. Others need insulin, other injectables drugs, or pills to stay healthy. 7
Don’t hesitate to get the help you need. Let’s head your numbers in the right direction.
Nothing herein constitutes medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, or is a substitute for professional advice. You should always seek the advice of your physician or other medical professional if you have questions or concerns about a medical condition.
1. CDC: “Estimates of Diabetes and its Burden in the United States.” Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/pubs/statsreport14/national-diabetes-report-web.pdf Accessed November 3, 2014.
2. HealthDay: “Diabetes Rates Leveling Off in U.S.” Available at: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_148535.html Accessed November 3, 2014.
3. HealthDay: “40 Percent of Americans Will Develop Diabetes, CDC Projects.” Available at: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_147820.html Accessed November 3, 2014.
4. Health Day: “Screen Everyone Over 45 for Diabetes: U.S. Task Force.” Available at: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/news/fullstory_148769.html Accessed November 3, 2014.
5. ADA: “Diabetes Symptoms.” Available at: http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/symptoms/ Accessed November 4, 2014.
6. ADA: “Complications.” Available at: http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/complications/?loc=symptoms Accessed November 4, 2014.
7. ADA: “Medication.” Available at: http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/treatment-and-care/medication/?loc=lwd-slabnav Accessed November 4, 2014.