Government and Regulations

Diabetes Report: The News Isn’t Good


According to the CDC’s recently released National Diabetes Statistics Report, 2014, an additional 3 million people developed diabetes between 2010 and 2012; but nearly 1 in 4 don’t know they have it. The report is based on 2012 data, which show that the number of people with diabetes rose from 26 million in 2010 to 29 million in 2012.

American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/ANs) are most affected: 16% of AI/ANs aged ≥ 20 years have diabetes, compared with 13% of non-Hispanic blacks, 13% of Hispanics, 9% of Asian Americans, and 8% of non-Hispanic whites. But even those figures don’t tell the whole story. For instance, among AI/AN adults, the rate of diabetes ranges from 6% among Alaska Natives to 24% among American Indians in southern Arizona. Among Hispanic adults, Puerto Ricans (15%) and Mexican Americans (14%) have the highest rates, compared with 9% of Cubans and Central and South Americans. Among Asian Americans, 13% of Asian Indians and 11% of Filipinos have diabetes, vs 4% of Chinese.

Moreover, 1 in 3 American adults has prediabetes—an estimated 86 million. Without weight loss and moderate physical activity, the CDC predicts as many as 30% of American adults will develop diabetes within 5 years.

Diabetes is a public health concern that affects all age groups. According to SEARCH for Diabetes in Youth, a multicenter study, during 2008 and 2009, an estimated 18,436 Americans aged < 20 years were newly diagnosed with type 1 diabetes annually, and 5,089 were newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes annually.

The physical costs are high. In 2010, diabetes was the seventh leading cause of death in the U.S. and may even have been underreported—only about 35% to 40% of death certificates for people with diabetes listed diabetes anywhere on the certificate. In 2011, hypoglycemia was the first-listed diagnosis for about 282,000 emergency department (ED) visits, and 175,000 ED visits were for hyperglycemic crisis. In 2010, 2,361 adults aged ≥ 20 years died of hyperglycemic crisis. In 2003 to 2006, after adjusting for population age differences, deaths due to cardiovascular disease were nearly doubled among adults aged ≥ 18 years with diagnosed diabetes, compared with adults without diagnosed diabetes. In 2010, diabetes also increased the rates of heart attack and stroke (1.8-fold and 1.5-fold, respectively) and in 2011 was the primary cause of kidney failure in 44% of all new cases.

The costs of care are high, as well. The CDC estimates the total medical costs associated with diabetes and its related complications for 2012 at $245 billion, up from $174 billion in 2010. Average medical expenses among people with diagnosed diabetes ran 2.3 times higher than for people without diabetes.

The report’s estimates were derived from a variety of sources, including CDC, IHS, NIH, and the U.S. Census Bureau; and published studies, including the 2009-2012 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) and the 2010-2012 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS).

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Diabetes and Memory

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