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The Facts About Diabetes: A Leading Cause of Death in the U.S.

What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a group of diseases marked by high levels of blood glucose resulting from defects in insulin production, insulin action, or both. Diabetes can lead to serious complications and premature death, but people with diabetes can take steps to control the disease and lower the risk of complications.

How many Americans have diabetes and prediabetes?

  • 25.8 million Americans have diabetes — 8.3 percent of the U.S. population. Of these, 7 million do not know they have the disease.
  • In 2010, about 1.9 million people ages 20 or older were diagnosed with diabetes.
  • The number of people diagnosed with diabetes has risen from 1.5 million in 1958 to 18.8 million in 2010, an increase of epidemic proportions.
  • It is estimated that 79 million adults aged 20 and older have prediabetes. Prediabetes is a condition where blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be called diabetes. Studies have shown that by losing weight and increasing physical activity people can prevent or delay prediabetes from progressing to diabetes.
  • View the CDC’s National Diabetes Fact Sheet, 2011.

What is the prevalence of diabetes by type?

  • Type 1 (previously called insulin-dependent or juvenile-onset) diabetes accounts for approximately 5 percent of all diagnosed cases of diabetes in adults.
  • Type 2 (previously called non-insulin-dependent or adult-onset) diabetes accounts for 90 to 95 percent of all diagnosed cases of diabetes in adults. Type 2 diabetes is increasingly being diagnosed in children and adolescents.
  • Gestational diabetes occurs in 2 to 10 percent of pregnancies. Women who have had gestational diabetes have a 35 to 60 percent chance of developing diabetes, mostly type 2, in the next 10 to 20 years.

What is the prevalence of diabetes by gender?

  • 13.0 million men have diabetes (11.8 percent of all men ages 20 years and older).
  • 12.6 million women have diabetes (10.8 percent of all women ages 20 years and older).

What is the prevalence of diagnosed and undiagnosed diabetes by age?

What is the prevalence of diagnosed diabetes in youth?

What is the prevalence of diabetes by race/ethnicity?

  • Diabetes epidemic among Non-Hispanic Whites – 15.7 million; 10.2 percent of all non-Hispanic whites aged 20 and older have diagnosed and undiagnosed diabetes. 7.1 percent of all non-Hispanic whites aged 20 and older have diagnosed diabetes.
  • Diabetes epidemic among African Americans – 4.9 million; 18.7 percent of all non-Hispanic blacks aged 20 and older have diagnosed and undiagnosed diabetes. 12.6 percent of all non-Hispanic blacks aged 20 and older have diagnosed diabetes.
  • Diabetes epidemic among Hispanics/Latinos – 11.8 percent of Hispanics/Latinos ages 20 or older have diagnosed diabetes. Among Hispanics/Latinos, diabetes prevalence rates are 7.6 percent for both Cubans and for Central and South Americans, 13.3 percent for Mexican Americans, and 13.8 percent for Puerto Ricans.
  • Diabetes epidemic among American Indians and Alaska Natives – About 16.1 percent of American Indians and Alaska Natives aged 20 years and older who are served by the Indian Health Service have diagnosed diabetes. Diabetes rates vary by region, from 5.5 percent among Alaska Natives to 33.5 percent among American Indians in southern Arizona.
  • Diabetes epidemic among Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders - The rate of diagnosed diabetes in Asian Americans is 8.4 percent. However, prevalence data for diabetes among Pacific Islanders is limited.

What are the racial and ethnic differences in diagnosed diabetes?

Compared to non-Hispanic whites, the risk of diagnosed diabetes is:

  • 18% higher among Asian Americans.
  • 66% higher among Hispanics/Latinos.
  • 77% higher among non-Hispanic blacks.

How many deaths are linked to diabetes?

  • Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death listed on U.S. death certificates.
  • Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death among people with diabetes — about 68 percent die of heart disease or stroke.
  • The overall risk for death among people with diabetes is about double that of people without diabetes.

How much does diabetes cost the nation?

  • Total health care and related costs for the treatment of diabetes run about $174 billion annually.
  • Of this total, direct medical costs (e.g., hospitalizations, medical care, treatment supplies) account for about $116 billion.
  • The other $58 billion covers indirect costs such as disability payments, time lost from work, and premature death.

Resources

View more Resources »

2007 NDEP Progress Report

2007 NDEP Progress Report

Learn about NDEP's activities during its first 10 years of progress (1997-2007).

National Diabetes Education Program: An Overview

National Diabetes Education Program: An Overview

Learn more about the National Diabetes Education Program's initiatives, goals and partnership network.

Diabetes Snapshot

Diabetes Snapshot

Print ad about the facts about diabetes: A leading cause of death in the U.S.

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