10 Important Facts About Diabetes

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10 Important Facts About Diabetes
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Almost 1 in every 10 persons in the USA (9.4% of the U.S. population in 2015) is now suffering from this chronic disease.

The World Health Organization [1] notes that diabetes aggravates complications in nearly all body systems and increases the risk of premature death. So when statistics indicate that the number of people diagnosed with the chronic disease is rising to near-epidemic proportions, it’s worthy of consideration. The first step towards fighting back against diabetes in understanding the severity and prevalence of the condition. Consider the facts below from the National Diabetes Statistics 2017 Report [2], compiled by the CDC:

1: Prevalence Of Diabetes In The United States

In 2015, 30,300,000 people in the USA (9.4% of the population) had diabetes. Of these, the number of young persons was reported as:
• 132,000 children and adolescents younger than age 18 years (0.18% of the total U.S. population younger than age 18 years)
• 193,000 children and adolescents younger than age 20 years (0.24% of the total U.S. population younger than age 20 years)

2: The Risk Of Diabetes Increases With Age

As people grow older, their risk of diabetes increases. At the age of 65 or higher, the percentage of those with diabetes has reached 25.2%.

3: Incidence Of Diabetes Among Adults

In 2015, more than half of the new cases were among adults aged 45 to 64 years, and the numbers were about equal for men and women.

4: Incidence Of Diabetes Among Children And Adolescents

Data from the SEARCH for Diabetes in Youth Study [1] indicated that during 2011-2012, the estimated annual number of newly diagnosed cases in the United States included:
• 17,900 children and adolescents younger than age 20 years with type 1 diabetes.
• 5,300 children and adolescents age 10 to 19 years with type 2 diabetes.

5: Most Common Type Of Diabetes

About 5% of people with diabetes are estimated to have type 1 diabetes.

6: Risk Factors Of Diabetes

Risk factor data for 2011-2014 for U.S. adults (people aged 18 or higher) with diagnosed diabetes indicated the following six as significant risk factors: 1) Smoking 2) Being overweight / obese 3) Prolonged physical inactivity (for example sitting for long periods every day) 4) Hypertension (high blood pressure_ 5) high cholesterol (hyperlipidemia), and 6) high blood glucose (hyperglycemia).

7: Diabetes-Related Hospital Discharges

In 2014 hospital discharge reports, 7.2 million U.S. adults were reported as discharged with diabetes recorded as “any listed diagnosis”.

Among these patients were included the following details:
• 1.5 million with serious cardiovascular diseases.
• 108,000 for amputation of a lower extremity (this is a common result of diabetes).
• 168,000 for diabetic ketoacidosis.

8: Diabetes Mortality Rates In The USA

Diabetes was reported to be the the 7th highest cause of death in 2015 in the USA. The chronic disease was listed as the underlying cause of death on 252,806 death certificates.

9: Diabetes Aggravates Other Health Complications

51,259 persons in the United states developed end-stage kidney disease with diabetes listed as the primary cause. This gives a figure of 154.4 per million persons when the figures are adjusted for age group, ethnic group, race and sex.

10: Number Of Diabetes Related Emergency Department Visits

In 2014, a total of 14.2 million ER visits were attributed to diabetes among adults (18+), including:

• 245,000 for hypoglycemia (11.2 per 1,000 persons with diabetes)
• 207,000 for hyperglycemic crisis (9.5 per 1,000 persons with diabetes)

Implications of the Statistics: The incidence and prevalence of diabetes are on the rise! The worrying statistics necessitate immediate and proactive action from each one of us. This includes practicing preventive measures and healthy lifestyle habits such as avoiding tobacco use, maintain healthy body weight, regular physical activity, and eating a healthy diet. But it doesn’t have to stop with you; consider raising awareness about the condition and advocating for sufficient access to health services.


[1] Diabetes. (2019). Retrieved 5 November 2019, from https://www.who.int/health-topics/diabetes

[2] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2017). National diabetes statistics report, 2017. Atlanta, GA: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, US Department of Health and Human Services.

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