There are 17 million people or 6.2% of the population in the United States who have diabetes. While an estimated 11.1 million have been diagnosed, unfortunately, 5.9 million people are not aware that they have the disease. Each day approximately 2,700 people are diagnosed with diabetes. About 1 million people aged 20 years or older will be diagnosed this year.
Diabetes is the fifth deadliest disease in the United States. In 1999, diabetes contributed to almost 210,000 deaths. Diabetes is a chronic disease that has no cure.
Diabetes is a Silent Killer
Many people first become aware that they have diabetes when they develop one of its life-threatening complications.
Heart disease is the leading cause of diabetes-related deaths.
Adults with diabetes have heart disease death rates about 2 to 4 times higher than adults without diabetes.
The risk for stroke is 2 to 4 times higher among people with diabetes.
High blood pressure
About 73% of adults with diabetes have blood pressure greater than or equal to 130/80 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) or use prescription medications for hypertension.
Diabetes is the leading cause of new cases of blindness among adults 20-74 years old.
Diabetic retinopathy causes from 12,000 to 24,000 new cases of blindness each year.
Diabetes is the leading cause of treated end-stage renal disease, accounting for 43% of new cases.
In 1999, 38,160 people with diabetes began treatment for end-stage renal disease.
In 1999, a total of 114,478 people with diabetes underwent dialysis or kidney transplantation.
Nervous system disease
About 60% to 70% of people with diabetes have mild to severe forms of nervous system damage. The results of such damage include impaired sensation or pain in the feet or hands, slowed digestion of food in the stomach, carpal tunnel syndrome, and other nerve problems.
Severe forms of diabetic nerve disease are a major contributing cause of lower-extremity amputations.
More than 60% of nontraumatic lower-limb amputations in the United States occur among people with diabetes.
From 1997 to 1999, about 82,000 nontraumatic lower-limb amputations were performed each year among people with diabetes.
Periodontal or gum diseases are more common among people with diabetes than among people without diabetes. Among young adults, those with diabetes are often at twice the risk of those without diabetes. Almost one third of people with diabetes have severe periodontal diseases with loss of attachment of the gums to the teeth measuring 5millimeters or more.
Complications of pregnancy
Poorly controlled diabetes before conception and during the first trimester of pregnancy can cause major birth defects in 5% to 10% of pregnancies and spontaneous abortions in 15% to 20% of pregnancies. Poorly controlled diabetes during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy can result in excessively large babies, posing a risk to the mother and the child.
Uncontrolled diabetes often leads to biochemical imbalances that can cause acute life-threatening events, such as diabetic ketoacidosis and hyperosmolar (nonketotic) coma.
People with diabetes are more susceptible to many other illnesses and, once they acquire these illnesses, often have a worse prognosis than people without diabetes. For example, they are more likely to die with pneumonia or influenza than people who do not have diabetes.
Direct and Indirect Costs of Diabetes
Diabetes is one of the most costly health problems in America. The American Diabetes Association estimates that health care and other costs directly related to diabetes treatment, as well as the costs of lost productivity, run $218 billion annually.What is Diabetes | Complications of Diabetes | Diabetes and Eye Conditions | Diabetes and Nephropathy | Prevention of Diabetes