National Health Crisis: More Americans Afflicted With Diabetes

September 16, 2014  |  

A national health crisis is happening in the United States. Nearly half of American adults have either pre-diabetes or diabetes. Let’s repeat that: Half! This increases their risk of heart attacks, blindness, amputations and cancer. And when you’re too sick to work, that’s when the medical bills start piling up.

According to federal health statistics, 12.3 percent of Americans 20 and older have diabetes, either diagnosed or undiagnosed. And an alarming 37 percent more have pre-diabetes, a condition marked by higher-than-normal blood sugar. This has increased a whopping 27 percent in 10 years.

“An analysis of 16 studies involving almost 900,000 people worldwide, published in the current issue of the journal Diabetologia, shows pre-diabetes not only sets the stage for diabetes but also increases the risk of cancer by 15 percent,” reports USA Today.

Without lifestyle changes, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says up to 30 percent of people with pre-diabetes develop Type 2 diabetes within five years. The only way you can really find out if you have pre-diabetes is through blood tests as most often it presents without symptoms. Given this, many people are not diagnosed. Only about 10 percent of the 86 million afflicted adults know they have it, reports the CDC.

Some parts of the country are harder hit than others, such as 15 states predominantly in the South, which is considered part of a “diabetes belt.”

Being overweight or obese, as are two-thirds of Americans, only increases your chances. According to experts, pre-diabetics can actually prevent or even delay diabetes by losing five to seven percent of their body weight and moderately exercising at least 2.5 hours each week and eating a moderate-calorie, healthy diet.

Diabetes has increased among, with African Americans and Hispanics disproportionately affected by the condition, leading to a lifetime risk of more than 50 percent versus the general population’s 40 percent. But there is help.

“Research shows programs promoting lifestyle changes can reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes by almost 60 percent – helping save lives and money,” reports USA Today.  In 2013, diabetes cost Americans $245 billion, according to the American Diabetes Association.

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