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A Guide To Understanding Diabetes (Statistics, Types, & Treatments)

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Diabetes is a long-lasting health condition that occurs when the pancreas is no longer able to make insulin, or when the insulin produced by the pancreas cannot be put to good use by the body, resulting in elevated levels of blood glucose (or blood sugar). 

Over time, this can lead to damage to the heart, eyes, kidneys, nerves, and blood vessels. The number of people with diabetes in the United States is continuing to grow at a concerning rate. 

This chronic disease has become so prevalent that it has reached the top ten list for leading causes of death in the United States. To better understand diabetes and if your loved one may be at risk, it’s important to stay updated on the current statistics.

 

Here are five statistics to know about diabetes: 

  1.  According to the CDC, a total of 37.3 million people have diabetes

  2. According to the CDC, 28.7 million people are diagnosed with diabetes, and 8.5 million people are undiagnosed with diabetes

  3. According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), 1.4 million Americans are diagnosed with diabetes every year.

  4. According to the CDC, diabetes was the eighth leading cause of death in the United States in 2021, based on the 102,188 death certificates listing diabetes as an underlying cause of death.

  5. According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), the total cost of diabetes (diagnosed) in the United States in 2017 was $327 billion. 

 

Frequently Asked Questions About Diabetes

Where can I get diabetes data?

To learn more about diabetes, some good data sources are the National Diabetes Statistics Report on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website or the Statistics About Diabetes article on the American Diabetes Association website.

Diabetes education is important to understanding diabetes prevention tips.

What percentage of the population has diabetes?

According to the Statistics About Diabetes article on the American Diabetes Association website, when it comes to the prevalence of diabetes in the overall US population, 37.3 million people of all ages—or 11.3% of the US population—had diabetes in 2019.

People of a certain race/ethnicity are more likely to develop prediabetes and type 2 diabetes, including African American, Hispanic or Latino, and Asian American people.

 

Is there a diabetes database?

The CDC offers access to the latest information on diabetes data and statistics on the National Diabetes Statistics Report and the Diabetes Report Card. The National Diabetes Statistics Report offers data on incidence, prevalence, complications, cost, and more. The Diabetes Report Card offers current information on diabetes and prediabetes at the national and state level.

 

What age group is most affected by diabetes?

According to the CDC, the risk of being diagnosed with prediabetes and type 2 diabetes is more prevalent in people 45 years and older.

 

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a long-lasting health condition that occurs when the pancreas is no longer able to make insulin, or when the insulin produced by the pancreas cannot be put to good use by the body, resulting in elevated levels of blood glucose (or blood sugar). Over time, diabetes can lead to heart disease, vision loss, and kidney disease.

There are three main types of diabetes: type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, and gestational diabetes.

 

Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 Diabetes is believed to be caused by an autoimmune reaction that stops your body from making insulin. It’s usually diagnosed in adolescents, including children, teens, and young adults. People with type 1 diabetes need to take insulin every day in order to survive.

 

Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes can occur either when your body either does not create enough insulin on its own or resists insulin altogether. This type of diabetes is typically diagnosed in adults, but in recent years has increased in children and young adults. Luckily, it can be prevented or delayed by making healthy lifestyle changes such as incorporating a healthy diet and increasing physical activity.

 

Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes develops in pregnant women who have never had diabetes before. This can result in your baby being at a higher risk for health problems. Gestational diabetes usually goes away after your baby is born but can increase your risk for being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes later in life. 

 

What Are The Treatments For Diabetes?

The treatment depends on the type of diabetes you have. According to the Mayo Clinic:

 

  • Treatment for type 1 diabetes involves insulin injections or the use of an insulin pump, frequent blood sugar checks, and carbohydrate counting. 

  • Treatment of type 2 diabetes primarily involves lifestyle changes, monitoring of your blood sugar, diabetes medications, insulin, or both. 

  • Treatment for gestational diabetes includes controlling your blood sugar level to keep your baby healthy and avoiding complications during delivery. 

    • In addition to maintaining a healthy diet and exercising, your treatment plan may include monitoring your blood sugar and, in some cases, using insulin or oral medications. Your doctor also will monitor your blood sugar level during labor.

If you do have diabetes, your healthcare provider may or may not prescribe medication to help you manage your condition. More often than not, your primary healthcare doctor will be involved in the team of healthcare professionals that will work with you directly and help formulate a diabetes care strategy.

 

Suraya Hammoudeh

Suraya Hammoudeh, PharmD, specializes in helping people learn more about health conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. She enjoys using her writing skills to communicate complex health and medical topics to different audiences. Suraya received her Doctor of Pharmacy degree from Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine-School of Pharmacy and her Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of Michigan, where she graduated with high distinction.

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