Close to half of all Americans have diabetes or are on the path to getting there, according to a new CDC report. Yet many of them remain undiagnosed and unaware that they’re in the danger zone.
The report, mainly a gathering of 2015 statistics displayed in charts and maps, outlines a disturbing prospect for the nation’s future health if more isn’t done to reverse the situation.
Wonder just how concerned we should be? These are the bald data:
Nearly one in 10 Americans have diabetes. Or, in raw numbers, that’s 30.3 million people.
The percentages are worse when just adults are considered. Almost all of the people with diabetes are 18 or older; 30.2 million of them. That means among the adult U.S population, 12.2 percent have diabetes.
Yet a considerable number don’t appear to know about it. Nearly a quarter — 23.8 percent, or 7.2 million people – were unaware they had the disease.
The diabetes rate is more than twice as high for older Americans. Among people 65 and older, 25.2 percent have diabetes.
Most adults with diabetes are obese. That’s true for 61 percent of them. And about 40 percent get less than 10 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise during the day.
The diagnoses grow each year. About 1.5 million new cases of diabetes were diagnosed in 2015.
Type 2 diabetes accounts for 95 percent of all cases. Most of the rest are Type 1; a smaller number of cases are gestational diabetes.
Here’s perhaps the scariest data point: People with prediabetes far outnumber those with diabetes. More than a third of American adults have prediabetes – 84.1 million people.
And they’re much less likely to know about it. While more than three-fourths of those with diabetes are aware of their condition, only 11.8 percent of those with prediabetes had been given a diagnosis by a health care professional. Yet nearly half — 48.3 percent — of people 65 and older have prediabetes.
Higher diabetes rates are concentrated in the South and the Appalachian region south of Pennsylvania.
Some states have much lower rates than average. Those include Alaska, Colorado, Hawaii and Vermont.
Men are slightly more likely to have diabetes. They account for 51 percent of adult diabetes cases. But when it comes to prediabetes, the differences are more significant: 36.6 percent of men have prediabetes, compared with 29.3 percent of women.
Medical expenses for people with diabetes are more than twice as high as for people without the disease. They average $13,700 per year, and most of that, about $7,900, is attributed to diabetes.
Among ethnic groups, Native American adults are most likely to have diabetes. About 15 percent of adults have the disease; remember, the number is 12.2 percent among all adults. That was followed by 12.7 percent for non-Hispanic black people; 12.1 percent for people of Hispanic ancestry, 8 percent for Asian Americans and 7.4 percent for non-Hispanic whites.
Need some hopeful news? Through healthy eating and exercise, people with prediabetes can cut their chances of developing diabetes in half. That’s tens of millions of people who could be spared a diabetes diagnosis down the road.