CDC: Diabetes Rates Increase and are Highest Among Minority Groups

More than 29 million people in the United States have diabetes, up from the previous estimate of 26 million in 2010, according to a report released recently by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  The new report also found that Non-Hispanic black, Hispanic, and American Indian/Alaska Native adults are about twice as likely to be diagnosed with diabetes as non-Hispanic white adults.

The percentage of people 20 years or older with diagnosed diabetes, by race/ethnicity for the period 2010-2012 include:

  • Non Hispanic Whites: 7.6 percent
  • Asian Americans: 9.0 percent
  • Hispanics: 12.8 percent
  • Non Hispanic Blacks: 13.2 percent
  • American Indians/Alaska Natives: 15.9 percent

Other key findings of the report include the significant fact that one in four people don’t know they have diabetes and  86 million adults – more than one in three U.S. adults – have prediabetes, a condition in which blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be classified as type 2 diabetes.  Without weight loss and moderate physical activity, 15 percent to 30 percent of people with prediabetes will develop type 2 diabetes within five years.

“These new numbers are alarming and underscore the need for an increased focus on reducing the burden of diabetes in our country,” said Ann Albright, Ph.D., R.D., director of CDC’s Division of Diabetes Translation.  “Diabetes is costly in both human and economic terms. It’s urgent that we take swift action to effectively treat and prevent this serious disease.”

According to the CDC, 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 critical component of diabetes management is reducing other cardiovascular disease risk factors, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and tobacco use. In addition, 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 its related complications accounted for $245 billion in total medical costs and lost work and wages, up from $174 billion in 2007.

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