Diabetes Update

A new study released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports the good news that diabetes diagnoses have not increased. The numbers are steady, which means they haven’t decreased, either, though. Covering the year 2015, the study finds that more than 100 million U.S. adults are living with either diabetes or prediabetes; 30.3 million American adults, or 9.4% of the population, have diabetes, which is the seventh leading cause of death in the U.S., while another 84.1 million have prediabetes, which often leads to type 2 diabetes within five years.

“Although these findings reveal some progress in diabetes management and prevention, there are still too many Americans with diabetes and prediabetes,” says CDC Director Brenda Fitzgerald, MD. “More than a third of U.S. adults have prediabetes, and the majority don’t know it. Now, more than ever, we must step up our efforts to reduce the burden of this serious disease.”

Highlighted insights from the report include:

  • In 2015, an estimated 1.5 million new cases of diabetes were diagnosed among people ages 18 and older.
  • Nearly 1 in 4 four adults living with diabetes—7.2 million Americans—didn’t know they had the condition, and only 11.6% of adults with prediabetes knew they had it.
  • Rates of diagnosed diabetes increased with age.
  • Rates of diagnosed diabetes were higher among American Indians/Alaska Natives (15.1%), non-Hispanic blacks (12.7%) and Hispanics (12.1%), compared with Asians (8.0 percent) and non-Hispanic whites (7.4%).
  • Education makes a difference: 12.6% of U.S. adults with less than a high school education were diagnosed with diabetes, compared with 9.5% with a high school education and 7.2% with more than a high school education.
  • More men (36.6%) had prediabetes than women (29.3%).
  • The southern and Appalachian areas of the United States had the highest rates of diagnosed diabetes and of new diabetes cases.

Often, diabetes can be managed through physical activity, diet and the appropriate use of insulin and other medications to control blood sugar levels. “Diabetes is a contributing factor to so many other serious health conditions,” says Ann Albright, PhD, RD, director of CDC’s Division of Diabetes Translation. “By addressing diabetes, we limit other health problems such as heart disease, stroke, nerve and kidney diseases and vision loss.”

For reprint and licensing requests for this article, Click here.