Why More Americans Need to Be Aware of the Danger of Diabetes

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

Data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Tuesday signals an alarming, upward trend regarding diabetes in America. “If these numbers continue to rise, 1 in 5 people could have diabetes by the year 2025, and it could be 1 in 3 people by the year 2050,” Ann Albright, PhD, RD, Director, Division of Diabetes Translation, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, stated in a press release. “We simply can’t sustain this trajectory – the implications are far too great – for our families, our healthcare system, our workforce, our nation.” A total of 1.7 million new cases were diagnosed in the past year.

Who is diabetic in America?

There are 29.1 million people (9.3 percent of the population) with diabetes in America, and increase of roughly 3 million since 2010. Worse yet, people with this range of insulin-affecting diseases may be unaware they are suffering from a health condition. According to the latest National Diabetes Statistics Report, the majority (21 million) of cases have been diagnosed, but another 8.1 million (or 27.8 percent) of people with diabetes remain undiagnosed.

In a snapshot of who is diabetic in America, the CDC data indicates that American Indians/Alaska Natives comprise 15.9 percent of diabetics in the U.S. 20 years of age or older. This is the largest group, followed by non-Hispanic blacks (13.2 percent), and Hispanics (12.8 percent). Asian Americans (9 percent) and Non-Hispanic whites (7.6 percent) had the lowest numbers reported in the demographic data. The highest percentage of people with diabetes are 65 or older, but the most cases (13.4 million) occur in people between 45 and 64.

The data reflects information for people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes; the American Diabetes Association explains the difference between the two form. Type 1 diabetes normally affects children and young adults. Insulin is not produced by the body, meaning sugars and starches are not converted into energy. Type 2 diabetes is the more common form, and occurs when the body does not use insulin properly. As a result, sugar (glucose) levels are elevated to a higher than normal level.