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Facts About Diabetes

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Facts About Diabetes

  • Diabetes is serious, common, costly, and controllable.
  • The overall costs of care including treatment for non-diabetes-related conditions, (direct and indirect costs): Total = $132 billion. Direct medical costs = $92 billion* (comprised of costs for diabetes care, chronic complications, and for excess prevalence of general medical conditions). Indirect medical costs = $40 billion (including lost workdays, restricted activity days, mortality and permanent disability). *Note: 52 percent of the direct costs were incurred by people >65 years old.
  • Diabetes is a growing health issue in the United States. Between 1990 and 1999, the prevalence of diagnosed diabetes increased nationwide by more than 40 percent. Approximately 800,000 new cases of diabetes are detected every year.
  • Between 1990 and 1999, type 2 diabetes increased 70 percent in persons between the ages of 30 and 39 and increased by more than 60 percent in persons between the ages of 40 and 49. BUT research studies have found that lifestyle changes can prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes among high-risk adults.
  • Diabetes affects almost 18.2 million people in the United States, 6.3 percent (diagnosed: 13 million people; undiagnosed: 5.2 million people).
  • Diabetes can affect women during pregnancy, a condition called gestational diabetes.
  • In the United States, more than 200,000 persons die each year from diabetes and its complications.
  • Diabetes strikes people of all ages and socioeconomic groups.
  • Diabetic eye disease (retinopathy) is the leading cause of new blindness in people under the age of 65. BUT research studies have shown that improved glycemic control benefits people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. For every 1 percent decrease in the A1c blood test, the risk of developing microvascular diabetic complications (eye, kidney, nerve disease) is reduced by 40 percent.
  • Persons with diabetes are two to four times more likely to have heart disease and stroke than are those without diabetes. BUT blood pressure control can reduce cardiovascular disease (heart disease and stroke) by 33-50 percent and reduce microvascular disease by about 33 percent. Improved control of lipids and cholesterol can reduce cardiovascular complications by 20-50 percent.
  • In the United States, from 1997-1999, more than 80,000 nontraumatic lower limb amputations were performed in people with diabetes. BUT comprehensive foot care programs can reduce amputation rates by 45-85 percent.

Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "National Diabetes Fact Sheet: National Estimates and General Information on Diabetes in the United States," 2003; Mokdad et al., 2001

Diabetes Prevention Program Research Group, N Engl J Med. 2002, 346:393.


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