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29 million Americans have diabetes; 1 in 4 doesn’t know it

6/20/2014, 7:02 a.m.

More than 29 million Americans have diabetes and one in four doesn’t know it, a new CDC report shows.

The previous estimate was 26 million in 2010.

The National Diabetes Statistics Report 2014, released on June 10 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is based on health data from 2012. It found that 86 million adults – more than one in three U.S. adults – have prediabetes and one in 11 has diabetes.

Ann Albright, director of the CDC’s Division of Diabetes Translation, called the new numbers alarming and said they underscore the need for an increased focus on reducing the burden of diabetes in the country.

“Diabetes is costly in both human and economic terms,” she said. “It’s urgent that we take swift action to effectively treat and prevent this serious disease.”

Pre-diabetes exists when blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be classified as type 2 diabetes.

The CDC says that without weight loss and moderate physical activity, 15 percent to 30 percent of people with prediabetes will develop type 2 diabetes within five years.

Key findings from the report include:

  • 29 million people in the United States (9.3 percent) have diabetes.
  • 1.7 million people 20 years or older were newly diagnosed with diabetes in 2012.
  • Non-Hispanic black, Hispanic, and American Indian/Alaska Native adults are about twice as likely to have diagnosed diabetes as non-Hispanic white adults.
  • 208,000 people younger than 20 years have been diagnosed with diabetes (type 1 or type 2).
  • 86 million adults 20 years and older have prediabetes.

The percentage of U.S. adults with prediabetes is similar for non-Hispanic whites (35 percent), non-Hispanic blacks (39 percent), and Hispanics (38 percent).

Diabetes is a serious disease that can be managed through physical activity, diet, and appropriate use of insulin and oral medications to lower blood sugar levels.

Another important part of diabetes management is reducing other cardiovascular disease risk factors, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and tobacco use.

People with diabetes are at increased risk of serious health complications, including vision loss; heart disease; stroke; kidney failure; amputation of toes, feet or legs; and premature death.

In 2012, diabetes and related complications accounted for $245 billion in total medical costs and lost work and wages. This figure is up from $174 billion in 2007.

For information on the CDC’s National Diabetes Prevention Program, visit www.cdc.gov/diabetes.

Through the Affordable Care Act, more Americans can find and choose health care coverage to fit their needs and budget, including preventive services like diabetes screening that may be covered at no additional cost. Visit Healthcare.gov or call 1-800-318-2596 (TTY/TDD 1-855-889-4325).