Half of Americans Have High Diabetes Risk

About 1 out of every 2 people in the U.S. has diabetes or pre-diabetes, new research shows. Here is what you can do to protect your family.

Half of Americans Have High Diabetes Risk Photo (cc) by JeepersMedia

About 1 out of every 2 people in the U.S. has diabetes or pre-diabetes, new research shows.

A study published this week in the Journal of the American Medical Association concluded that as of 2012, an estimated 12 percent to 14 percent of American adults had diabetes, a metabolic disease related to too much sugar in the blood. The rate is even higher among certain subpopulations.

These figures reflect a growing trend that dates back to 1988, the study states:

Between 1988-1994 and 2011-2012, the prevalence of diabetes increased significantly among the overall population and among each age group, both sexes, every racial/ethnic group, every education level, and every income level, with a particularly rapid increase among non-Hispanic black and Mexican American participants.

The study determined that an additional 38 percent of U.S. adults have a condition known as pre-diabetes.

In a Forbes article about the study, emergency physician Dr. Robert Glatter explains:

  • Pre-diabetes is a condition where a person already has elevated blood sugar and is at risk of developing diabetes.
  • Diabetes is a condition where blood sugar is elevated, generally due to insufficient production of insulin needed to lower blood sugar levels (Type 1 diabetes) or due to insulin resistance (Type 2 diabetes). The latter often results from obesity, poor diet or lack of exercise.

The researchers also report that diabetes cost an estimated $245 billion in 2012 due to health care costs and lost productivity.

Fortunately, the Mayo Clinic reports, the disease can be prevented:

Making a few simple changes in your lifestyle now may help you avoid the serious health complications of diabetes down the road, such as nerve, kidney and heart damage.

Those changes are:

  • Eating more healthfully. This includes eating plenty of fiber and whole grains, both of which can reduce the risk of developing diabetes.
  • Becoming more physically active. The benefits of regular exercise include lower blood sugar levels, greater sensitivity to insulin (which also helps control blood sugar levels) and weight loss.
  • Losing a few extra pounds.

What steps do you take to prevent or fight diabetes? Let us know below or on Facebook.

Karla Bowsher
Karla Bowsher
I’m a freelance journalist and former newspaper reporter who has covered both personal and public finance. I've worked for a top 50 major metro daily and a community newspaper as well as ... More


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