Diabetes in the US

Image Caption : Type 2 diabetes is an epidemic in the US and all over the world.

About 24 million Americans have diabetes-that's about 8% of the population. About a third of these, 5.7 million people, are undiagnosed. No fewer than 57 million people are thought to be prediabetic. Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death listed on death certificates in the US (although that's probably an underestimate). Experts believe that diagnosed diabetes will increase 165% by 2050. That means that one in three people born in 2000 will be affected by the disease. Alarmingly, children account for 20% of all new cases. Type 2 diabetes has also become a global epidemic. The World Health Organization estimates that over 220 million people around the world have type 2 diabetes (90% of people with diabetes worldwide), and it is among the top five causes of death in most developed countries.

What's worse, the World Health Organization predicts that the number of cases of diabetes is very likely going to increase dramatically-to over 360 million by 2030. Deaths due to diabetes will increase by over 50% in the next 10 years unless serious and immediate steps are taken.

The economic cost of diabetes is enormous, not just to the individual, but to society as well. In the US, the total costs (direct and indirect) of diabetes in 2007 were estimated to be $174 billion.


Also called: Diabetes mellitus, DM

Diabetes is a disease in which your blood glucose, or blood sugar, levels are too high. Glucose comes from the foods you eat. Insulin is a hormone that helps the glucose get into your cells to give them energy. With type 1 diabetes, your body does not make insulin. With type 2 diabetes, the more common type, your body does not make or use insulin well. Without enough insulin, the glucose stays in your blood. You can also have prediabetes. This means that your blood sugar is higher than normal but not high enough to be called diabetes. Having prediabetes puts you at a higher risk of getting type 2 diabetes.

Over time, having too much glucose in your blood can cause serious problems. It can damage your eyes, kidneys, and nerves. Diabetes can also cause heart disease, stroke and even the need to remove a limb. Pregnant women can also get diabetes, called gestational diabetes.

A blood test can show if you have diabetes. Exercise, weight control and sticking to your meal plan can help control your diabetes. You should also monitor your glucose level and take medicine if prescribed.

NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

The material on this site is for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. It should not be used to diagnose or treat any medical condition. Consult a licensed medical professional for the diagnosis and treatment of all medical conditions and before starting a new diet or exercise program. If you have a medical emergency, call 911 immediately.