Diabetes is a chronic condition that affects millions of people in the United States. In fact, it is estimated that over 30 million people have either type 1 or type 2 diabetes. That is almost 10 percent of the population of the United States. Diabetes is a serious condition that can lead to serious complications, including heart disease and stroke, if not managed properly. So it is important to understand how many people in the United States have diabetes and what can be done to prevent or manage the condition.
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a metabolic disorder where the body does not produce or use insulin properly. Insulin is a hormone that helps the body use glucose for energy. When the body does not produce enough insulin or does not use insulin as it should, glucose levels in the blood become too high. This is known as high blood sugar or hyperglycemia. Over time, high levels of glucose in the blood can damage the body and lead to serious complications, including heart disease, stroke, and kidney damage.
Types of Diabetes
There are two main types of diabetes: type 1 and type 2. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disorder where the body’s own immune system attacks and destroys the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin. People with type 1 diabetes must take insulin every day to control their blood sugar levels. Type 2 diabetes is a metabolic disorder where the body does not produce enough insulin or does not use insulin as it should. People with type 2 diabetes may be able to manage their condition with diet, exercise, and oral medications, but some may also need to take insulin.
How Many People in the United States Have Diabetes?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 30.3 million people in the United States have diabetes. Of those, 23.1 million have been diagnosed and 7.2 million have not yet been diagnosed. That means that almost 10 percent of the population of the United States has diabetes. It is estimated that an additional 84 million people in the United States have prediabetes, a condition where blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes.
Risk Factors for Diabetes
Some factors that increase the risk of developing diabetes include being overweight or obese, having a family history of diabetes, not getting enough physical activity, and having certain conditions, such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Other risk factors for type 2 diabetes include being over 45 years old, being African American, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian, Alaska Native, Asian American, or Pacific Islander, and having gestational diabetes.
Preventing and Managing Diabetes
The good news is that type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed with lifestyle changes, such as eating a healthy diet, getting regular physical activity, and losing weight if needed. For people who already have diabetes, it is important to work with a healthcare team to manage the condition. This includes taking medications as prescribed, monitoring blood sugar levels, eating a healthy diet, getting regular physical activity, and attending regular medical appointments.
It is estimated that over 30 million people in the United States have diabetes. That is almost 10 percent of the population. People with type 2 diabetes can take steps to prevent or delay the condition, and those who already have diabetes can manage it with lifestyle changes and medications. People with diabetes should work with a healthcare team to ensure their condition is properly managed.