About 29 million Americans—or 9% of the population—are living with diabetes, but nearly one-quarter of those diabetics are unaware of their condition, according to a CDC report released Tuesday.
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The report, which is based on data from 2012, found that the number of Americans with diabetes rose from 26 million in 2010 to 29 million in 2012, with nearly 1.7 million people ages 20 and up diagnosed in 2012. In addition, about 208,000 Americans younger than age 20 have been diagnosed with type 1 or type 2 diabetes.
According to the report, black, Hispanic, and American Indian/Alaska Native adults are nearly twice as likely to develop diabetes as white adults.
Ann Albright, CDC's director of diabetes translation, says the stats are "alarming" and calls for an "increased focus" on preventive measures to reduce the number of Americans living with the disease and decrease its economic impact. The report found that diabetes and complications related to the disease accounted for $245 billion in total medical costs and lost work and wages in 2012.
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Another 86 million Americans, or one-third of adults, are living with "prediabetes," meaning their blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be classified as diabetic. If no measures are taken to lower blood sugar, 15% to 30% of individuals with prediabetes develop type 2 diabetes within five years, according to the CDC report.
Ronald Tamler, clinical director of the diabetes center at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, says that "while a third of the country is at risk for developing diabetes, it can be prevented with lifestyle changes" and encourages patients to "seek out comprehensive medical care to avoid the complications of their condition."
According to the report, if the current trends continue, 20% of Americans will have diabetes by 2025 and 33% will have it by 2050 (Beasley, Reuters, 6/10; Preidt, U.S. News/HealthDay, 6/10; Kaur, "The Chart,' CNN, 6/10).
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