The Facts, Stats, and Impacts of Diabetes

Chances are, you know someone with diabetes. It may be a friend, a family member, or even you. And because the best way to prevent or manage any harmful health condition is to be informed, we want to help you be in the know. Learn about the facts, stats, and impacts of diabetes.

The year 2021 marked the 100th anniversary of the discovery of insulin. Before insulin was discovered, people with diabetes didn’t live long lives. Since then, we’ve come a long way in reducing the toll diabetes takes on people’s daily lives. But the fight isn’t over.

Today, the number of people with diabetes is higher than it has ever been. And it’s not just your grandparents you have to worry about. People are developing diabetes at younger ages and at higher rates. But the more you know about diabetes, the more you can do about preventing it, delaying it, or lessening its harmful effects.

The Facts

Diabetes is a chronic (long-lasting) health condition that affects how your body turns food into energy. Most people’s bodies naturally produce the hormone insulin, which helps convert sugars from the food we eat into energy that the body can use or store for later. When you have diabetes, your body either doesn’t make insulin or doesn’t use its insulin well, causing your blood sugar to rise. High blood sugar levels can cause serious health problems over time.

With type 1 diabetes, the body can’t make insulin. If you’re diagnosed with type 1, you’ll need to take insulin every day to survive. With type 2 diabetes, your body doesn’t use insulin well. The good news is that type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed with healthy lifestyle changes.

With prediabetes, your body may not be able to fully use the insulin you make, or your body may not make enough insulin to keep your blood sugar levels in a healthy range. People who have prediabetes have blood sugar levels that are higher than normal—but not yet high enough for a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes.

The Stats

The National Diabetes Statistics Report provides information on the prevalence (existing cases) and incidence (new cases) of diabetes and prediabetes, risk factors for health complications from diabetes, and diabetes-related deaths and costs.

Key findings include:

  • 37.3 million Americans—about 1 in 10—have diabetes.
    • About 1 in 5 people with diabetes don’t know they have it.
  • 96 million American adults—more than 1 in 3—have prediabetes.
    • More than 8 in 10 adults with prediabetes don’t know they have it.
  • In 2019, about 1.4 million new cases of diabetes were diagnosed.
  • For people aged 10 to 19 years, new cases of type 2 diabetes increased for all racial and ethnic minority groups, especially Black teens.
  • For adults with diagnosed diabetes:
    • 69% had high blood pressure, and 44% had high cholesterol.
    • 39% had chronic kidney disease, and 12% reported having vision impairment or blindness.
    • Diabetes was highest among Black and Hispanic/Latino adults, in both men and women.

The Impacts

Diabetes and diabetes-related health complications can be serious and costly. The seventh leading cause of death in the United States, diabetes costs a total estimated $327 billion in medical costs and lost work and wages. In fact, people with diagnosed diabetes have more than twice the average medical costs that people without diabetes have.

Diabetes can take a serious toll on your quality of life, affecting your physical, mental, and emotional well-being. But though there is no cure for diabetes, there are things you can do to manage it and its health complications. And if you have prediabetes, there are things you can do to help prevent it from becoming type 2 diabetes.

In the Know

Now that you’re in the diabetes know, you can take charge to prevent or delay type 2 diabetes and its complications. Find out how the National Diabetes Prevention Program can help you take charge. And if you already have diabetes, you can learn more about diabetes self-management education and support services to help manage your diabetes.

Click to read our Life Insurance Shopping tips for those with diabetes.

This article is provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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