Diabetes Still Growing in the US

Diabetes and prediabetes rates in US reach new highs in national report from CDC

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD Beth Bolt, RPh

(RxWiki News) Diabetes has been on the radar of health experts for many years now. It seems that despite increased awareness and attention, diabetes rates are still growing in the US.

A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provided updated information on rates of diabetes in the US, using data from 2012.

The report estimated that over 29 million people in the US have either type 1 or type 2 diabetes, many of whom are undiagnosed.

"Try to reduce the amount of sugar-sweetened beverages in your diet."

In type 2 diabetes, which is usually found in adults, the body becomes resistant to the hormone insulin, causing blood sugar levels to increase, and potentially leading to a number of health issues, like kidney problems, eye troubles and nerve damage. In type 1 diabetes, usually found in children, the body does not produce insulin on its own.

The report, the "N​ational Diabetes Statistics Report, 2014," relied on a number of data sources, including 2012 US census data and the 2009–2012 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES).

In the report, CDC estimated that 29.1 million people in the US have diabetes, either type 1 or type 2. The report found that 28.9 million people aged 20 or older have diabetes — a number that accounts for 12.3 percent of the adult population.

These numbers are a significant increase from the numbers of people with diabetes estimated in 2010 — 26 million people.

It is estimated that 8.1 million people with diabetes have not been diagnosed with the condition. This means that around 27.8 percent of people living with diabetes are not aware that they have the condition.

CDC also provided some data on prediabetes — a condition in which a person's blood sugar levels are high but not yet high enough to be considered diabetes.

The report estimated that 86 million people aged 20 and older, or one out of three people in this age group, have prediabetes.

"Without weight loss and moderate physical activity, 15-30 percent of people with prediabetes will develop type 2 diabetes within 5 years," CDC reported.

The report also estimated that diabetes and diabetes health complications cost $245 billion in medical expenses and costs due to lost work time. This number is also up significantly from 2010, when the total cost was estimated to be $174 billion.

In a news release, Ann Albright, PhD, RD, of CDC's National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, stressed the importance of these findings.

"We know today that adopting a healthier lifestyle is the most effective way to prevent type 2 diabetes and improve health for people already diagnosed with diabetes," said Dr. Albright. "It’s critical that people learn ways to change their own health behaviors (through programs like CDC’s National Diabetes Prevention Program), and that they have the necessary support and encouragement from the people and environment around them.”

It is important to note that these numbers are estimations, and that data on diabetes diagnoses relied on self-reports from survey participants.

This report was published online June 10 by CDC.

Review Date: 
June 11, 2014
Last Updated:
June 13, 2014