On July 18, 2017, the CDC published a new report that found that as of 2015, 30.3 million Americans – 9.4 percent of the U.S. population – had diabetes. Another 84.1 million had prediabetes, a condition that if not treated often leads to type 2 diabetes within five years.
The report confirmed that the rate of new diabetes diagnoses remained steady. However, the disease continued to represent a growing health problem. Diabetes was the seventh leading cause of death in the U.S. in 2015. The report also included county-level data for the first time, and showed that some areas of the country bear a heavier diabetes burden than others.
“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, M.D. “More than a third of U.S. 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.”
Diabetes is a serious disease that can often be managed through physical activity, diet, and the appropriate use of insulin and other medications to control blood sugar levels. People with diabetes are at increased risk of serious health complications including premature death, vision loss, heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, and amputation of toes, feet, or legs.
The National Diabetes Statistics Report, released approximately every two years, provides information on diabetes prevalence and incidence, prediabetes, risk factors for complications, acute and long-term complications, mortality, and costs in the U.S. The latest National Diabetes Statistics Report included a range of key findings. For example, the report found that, in 2015, an estimated 1.5 million new cases of diabetes were diagnosed among people ages 18 and older. Nearly 1 in 4 four adults living with diabetes – 7.2 million Americans – did not know they had the condition. Only 11.6 percent of adults with prediabetes knew they had it.
The National Diabetes Statistics Report made a number of findings regarding who is diagnosed with diabetes in the United States. Rates of diagnosed diabetes increased with age. Among adults ages 18-44, 4 percent had diabetes. Among those ages 45-64 years, 17 percent had diabetes. And among those ages 65 years and older, 25 percent had diabetes. Rates of diagnosed diabetes were higher among American Indians/Alaska Natives (15.1 percent), non-Hispanic blacks (12.7 percent), and Hispanics (12.1 percent), compared to Asians (8.0 percent) and non-Hispanic whites (7.4 percent). Diabetes prevalence varied significantly by education. Among U.S. adults with less than a high school education, 12.6 percent had diabetes. Among those with a high school education, 9.5 percent had diabetes; and among those with more than a high school education, 7.2 percent had diabetes. More men (36.6 percent) had prediabetes than women (29.3 percent). Rates were similar among women and men across racial/ethnic groups or educational levels. The report also found diabetes prevalence varied significantly by geographic region. The southern and Appalachian areas of the United States had the highest rates of diagnosed diabetes and of 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, Ph.D., R.D., director of the 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.”
See the CDC Announcement
See also Medical Law Perspectives Report: Diabetes and Its Complications: Malpractice and Other Liability Issues