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Diabetes Facts

Facts and figures about Diabetes

  • Diabetes is one of the fastest-growing diseases in the United States.
  • Diabetes is the fifth leading cause of death by disease in this country.
  • Complications resulting from diabetes claim 224,092 lives annually. Although this figure is underreported, the risk of death among people with diabetes is twice that of those of the same age without diabetes.
  • 25.8 million Americans (8%) have diabetes.
  • 7 million people in America have diabetes and don't know they have it.
  • Diabetes and its associated health problems cost $174 billion dollars annually.
  • Heart disease and stroke account for 65% of deaths in people with diabetes.
  • Diabetes accounts for 12,000-24,000 new cases of blindness each year.
  • More than 60% of non-traumatic lower-limb amputations occur in people with diabetes.
  • Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure.
  • Diabetes can be diagnosed through a simple blood sugar test. Ask your physician to perform one soon.


Signs and symptoms of Diabetes

  • Excessive thirst

  • Frequent urination

  • Dramatic, unexplained weight loss

  • Tingling in toes or feet

  • Wounds seem to be very slow in healing

  • Extremely and chronically fatigued

Risk factors for developing Diabetes

  • A parent or family member with diabetes

  • Women who have given birth to babies weighing more than nine pounds or have a history of gestational diabetes

  • Increasing age

  • Overweight

  • Inactive lifestyle

  • African Americans, Latinos, Asian and Pacific Islanders and Native Americans

  • Low HDL cholesterol or high triglycerides

Common Misconceptions about Diabetes

1. Diabetes is not a serious disease. While diabetes is not fatal, complications from diabetes result in it being the fifth leading cause of death by disease in the United States. These complications include blindness, kidney failure, and heart disease.

2. Diabetes can be cured. Although Type 2 diabetes can be controlled with diet, medication, and exercise, diabetes is a chronic condition for which there currently is no cure.

3. There is only one kind of diabetes. There are actually three types of diabetes: Type 1, Type 2 and Gestational. In Type 1, the pancreas does not produce insulin. So insulin must be given by injection or a pump to survive. Type 1 is most commonly diagnosed in childhood and young adulthood. In Type 2, the body does not respond to insulin effectively and gradually loses its ability to produce enough insulin. This usually occurs in adults, and can be controlled by diet, weight loss, and exercise...without the need for insulin injections, although most people will require oral medications and/or insulin.

Gestational diabetes occurs in pregnancy. During pregnancy, the body is not able to make and use all of the insulin it needs for pregnancy. This can often be controlled by diet and exercise. In most cases, the woman will not have diabetes once the baby is delivered. The woman will however, have a 66% chance of diabetes returning in future pregnancies.

4. People are born with diabetes. While many people with Type 1 diabetes are diagnosed with the disease during childhood, people with Type 2 diabetes often do not develop the disease until they are adults, although the number of children with Type 2 diabetes is increasing.

5. Diabetes is a rare disease. Nearly 23.6 million Americans, or 8% of the American population, have diabetes. Currently, diabetes is the fastest growing disease in the United States.

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