Diabetes is characterized by high blood glucose levels resulting from defects in insulin production, insulin action, or both. The condition is associated with 1.5 million deaths every year, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
The disease can lead to serious complications such as blindness, kidney damage, cardiovascular disease, limb amputations and premature death.
Here’s what you need to know about diabetes, a disease that affects millions of people around the world.
People with diabetes or other underlying medical conditions are more likely to become seriously ill if infected with Covid-19, according to the CDC.
Worldwide, the number of people living with the life-threatening disease has quadrupled since 1980 to about 422 million, according to the WHO.
37.3 million people in the United States have diabetes, about 11.3% of the population. 8.5 million (23%) adults with diabetes are undiagnosed.
Diabetes was the eighth leading cause of death in the United States in 2020, according to provisional data from the National Vital Statistics System.
There are several types of diabetes: type 1, type 2 and gestational diabetes.
Prediabetes occurs when blood glucose levels are above normal but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. Before developing type 2 diabetes, people almost always have prediabetes. Research has shown that some long-term damage to the body can occur during pre-diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes develops when the body’s immune system destroys pancreatic beta cells, the only cells in the body that produce insulin. This form of diabetes usually affects children and young adults. Only 5-10% of people with diabetes have type 1 diabetes. Risk factors for type 1 diabetes can be autoimmune, genetic or environmental. There is no known way to prevent type 1 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body does not produce enough insulin or the cells do not use insulin properly. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes and, in adults, accounts for about 90% to 95% of all diagnosed cases of diabetes.
It is associated with advanced age, obesity, family history, physical inactivity and race/ethnicity. It is most common in African Americans, Latin Americans, American Indians, Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and other Pacific Islanders. Type 2 diabetes in children and adolescents, while still rare, is being diagnosed more frequently.
Gestational diabetes is a form of glucose intolerance diagnosed during pregnancy. It affects about 4% of all pregnant women. A diagnosis of gestational diabetes does not mean that a woman had diabetes before she conceived, or that she will have diabetes after childbirth.
Other types of diabetes result from genetic conditions, surgery, medications, infections, and other illnesses. These types of diabetes account for 1% to 5% of all diagnosed cases.
- frequent urination
- excessive thirst
- unexplained weight loss
- extreme hunger
- Sudden changes in vision
- Numbness in hands or feet
- Dry skin
- Slow healing wounds
- frequent infections
Adults with diabetes have death rates from heart disease about two to four times higher than adults without diabetes.
The risk of stroke is two to four times higher among people with diabetes.
People with diabetes are at high risk of high blood pressure
Diabetes is the leading cause of new cases of blindness among adults aged 20 to 74.
Diabetes is the main cause of kidney failure.
Between 60% and 70% of people with diabetes have mild to severe forms of nervous system damage or neuropathy.
US diabetes statistics
1.4 million new cases are diagnosed each year in the United States.
In 2019, about 96 million people aged 18 and over had prediabetes.
About 286,000 people under age 20 have diabetes.
$327 billion – Cost of treating diabetes in the US in 2017.
1921 – Insulin is discovered by Frederick Banting and Charles Best.
November 16, 2012 – The CDC releases a report showing that 18 states had a 100% or greater increase in diabetes prevalence from 1995 to 2010. Forty-two states had an increase of at least 50%.
January 17, 2014 – For the first time, the U.S. Surgeon General’s Report on the Health Consequences of Smoking includes data indicating that smoking can cause diabetes, as well as erectile dysfunction, rheumatoid arthritis, macular degeneration, ectopic pregnancy, and function impaired immune system. Smokers have a 30% to 40% increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes compared to non-smokers.
May 4, 2015 – A study published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation detects a possible connection between diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease.
September 28, 2016 – The Food and Drug Administration approves the so-called artificial pancreas. The first device of its kind, the size of a cell phone, monitors and treats patients with type 1 diabetes, also known as juvenile diabetes.
September 28, 2017 – FDA approves “first continuous blood sugar monitoring device” that does not require patients to prick their fingers to obtain blood samples.
December 2, 2019 – An estimated 18% of 12- to 18-year-olds and 24% of 19- to 34-year-olds in the United States have prediabetes, according to a JAMA Pediatrics study covering 2005-2016 .
May 15, 2022 – In its biannual diabetes newsletter, the CDC notes a decrease in newly diagnosed diabetes cases after nearly two decades of continued increases. In 2019, the number of newly diagnosed adults in the US decreased from 9.3 per 1,000 in 2009 to 5.9 per 1,000 adults.
Source: CNN Brasil