US Diabetes Cases Soar; One-Third Adults Prediabetic

Friday, 28 January 2011 06:55 AM

The number of diabetics in the United States has grown to nearly 26 million, a 10 percent increase over 2008, and more than a third of adults are now considered prediabetic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday, expressing concern about the trend.

"These distressing numbers show how important it is to prevent Type 2 diabetes and to help those who have diabetes," said Ann Albright, director of the CDC's diabetes translation division.

"We know that a structured lifestyle program that includes losing weight and increasing physical activity can prevent or delay Type 2 diabetes," she said in a statement announcing the latest statistics.

Type 2 diabetes accounts for 90 to 95 percent of diabetes cases. The condition arises when the body gradually loses its capacity to produce and use insulin to regulate sugar levels in the blood.

In 2008, 7.8 percent of the U.S. population, or 23.6 million people, had diabetes and 57 million adults were classified as pre-diabetic with higher than normal blood sugar levels, according to a CDC study.

The CDC found that the number of people with diabetes has since climbed to 26 million people and 79 million more are now considered to be pre-diabetic, which increases their risk of heart disease and stroke.

It said that 35 percent of adults age 20 and up in the United States fall into the prediabetic category.

The latest CDC statistics indicate that 8.3 percent of Americans of all ages and 11.3 percent age 20 and older are diabetic.

The CDC estimates that around 27 percent of Americans with diabetes, or around 7 million, are not aware of it.

Last year, the CDC warned that one in three American adults could be diabetic by 2050 if the current trends persist.

Risk factors for adult diabetes include aging, obesity, heredity, having diabetes during pregnancy, a sedentary lifestyle, and race or ethnicity.

Black Americans, Hispanics, American Indians, indigenous Alaskans, and Pacific islanders are the most predisposed to adult diabetes.

Copyright AFP

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