There Are Now More Than 100 Million Americans with Diabetes or Prediabetes

JULY 19, 2017
Thomas Castles

More than 100 million US adults – nearly one third of the nation’s population – are now living with diabetes or prediabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Roughly 30 million Americans have diabetes, the report read, while another 84 million have prediabetes – a condition that if not treated often leads to type 2 diabetes within 5 years.

The rate of new diabetes diagnoses remains steady, the CDC said, but as the 7th leading cause of death in the US in 2015, it continues to represent a growing health problem.

“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 US 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.”

Released approximately every 2 years, the National Diabetes Statistics Report provides information on diabetes prevalence and incidence, prediabetes, risk factors for complications, acute and long-term complications, mortality, and costs in the US.

Key findings from the report include:

  • In 2015, 1.5 million new cases of diabetes were diagnosed in people 18 and older
  • Nearly 1 in 4 adults living with diabetes – 7.1 million Americans – didn’t know they had the condition. Only 11.6% of adults with prediabetes knew they had it
  • Rates of diagnosed diabetes increased with age

According to the report, among adults ages 18-44, 4% had diabetes. Among those aged 45-64 years, 17% had diabetes, and among those aged 65 and older, 25% had diabetes.

Moreover, rates of diagnosed diabetes were higher among most minority groups. American Indians/Alaska Natives (15.1%), non-Hispanic blacks (12.7%), and Hispanics (12.1%) had significantly higher rates of diagnosed diabetes compared to Asians (8%) and non-Hispanic whites (7.4%).

There was also a notable difference in diabetes rates correlated with education. Among US adults with a high school education, 9.5% had diabetes, and among those with more than a high school education, 7.2% had diabetes.

More men have diabetes (36.6%) than women (29.3%), even when factoring in racial differences.

Of all demographic groups, the southern and Appalachian areas of the United States had the highest rates of diagnosed diabetes and new diabetes cases.

“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 CDC’s Division of Diabetes Translation. “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.”

To reduce the impact of diabetes on the US population, the CDC has established the National Diabetes Prevention Program (National DPP), which provides the framework for type 2 diabetes prevention efforts in the US.

The National DPP includes an evidence-based, year-long behavior change program to improve eating habits and increase physical activity to lose a modest amount of weight and significantly reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Additionally, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) and the American Medical Association (AMA), have partnered with the Ad Council to launch the first national public service advertising (PSA) campaign about prediabetes.

Finally, states are working with CDC to improve access to diabetes self-management education with an emphasis on programs that meet national quality standards.

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