Diabetes mellitus statistics based on numbers from 2012 were recently reported by the Center for Disease Control (CDC). The estimated number of people in the United States with diabetes was 29 million. This was an increase of 3 million since 2010. The number of people with diabetes mellitus in 2012 was 9.3 percent of the U.S. population. If just considering adults with diabetes, the percentage jumped to 12.3 percent. The report also provided an estimate of the number of people who have diabetes but do not know it. According to the CDC analysis, one in four people do not know they have diabetes even though they actually have the disease.
There are many complications that occur when people have diabetes. Diabetic retinopathy, which is damage to the retina in the eye, can cause vision loss. Many people develop kidney failure with diabetes and they will likely eventually need dialysis treatments. Some diabetics lose blood flow to extremities, which can result in the loss of a toe or even a foot. The prevalence of having a stroke is higher in those with diabetes. The physiological basis for development of these diabetic complications is problems with the vascular system. Changes occur in blood vessels that damage the retina, kidneys or blood flow to the legs and feet.
In the CDC report on statistics for diabetes mellitus in 2012, medical treatments for diabetes and diabetic complications were estimated to cost $245 billion. In 2010, medical costs for diabetes and related complications were $174 billion. It is possible for people to take some action to help prevent diabetes or to prevent diabetic complications, which could lower the amount of medical costs for diabetes in the future. Eating a healthy diet and making sure to get enough physical exercise are important. Maintaining normal blood pressure and normal cholesterol levels, through medical treatments if necessary, have been shown to be important in managing diabetes and diabetic complications.
Blood glucose levels that are not high enough to indicate having diabetes, but are higher than normal, are said to be a signpost for a condition called pre-diabetes. The CDC report statistics suggested that 86 million adults in the U.S. have blood glucose levels that are high enough to indicate they have pre-diabetes. The reported estimate for those with pre-diabetes who will eventually become diabetic is 15 percent to 30 percent within five years.
The predominant environmental or physiological risk factors for developing diabetes have been determined. These risk factors are being overweight, eating an unhealthy diet, older age and lack of physical activity. Determining the genetic factors that may influence the development of diabetes has been a topic of research for a few decades. A clear picture of how genes relate to the development of the most common types of diabetes has not been presented yet.
The CDC report also provided statistics on racial and ethnic differences in the incidence of diabetes and pre-diabetes. African-Americans who are not Hispanic are about twice as likely to have diabetes as white people who are not Hispanic. Hispanic white people, American Indians and Alaskan Native adults were also said to be twice as likely to have diabetes as non-Hispanic white Americans. The percentages of people with pre-diabetes were similar for non-Hispanic whites, non-Hispanic African-Americans, and Hispanics. Each of these groups had an incidence rate of having pre-diabetes at approximately 35 percent.
It was reported that Ann Albright, the director of the Division of Diabetes Translation at the CDC, pointed out the cost of diabetes in both economic and human terms. She reportedly said, “It’s urgent that we take swift action to effectively treat and prevent this serious disease.” The reported statistics for diabetes mellitus in 2012 are of concern to the CDC.
By Margaret Lutze