Statistics and facts about type 2 diabetes
As we enter 2022, it’s a good time to do a general update about diabetes and what it means to live with the disease.
A Brief Overview
Diabetes is a disease that occurs when the body is unable to turn blood sugar into energy. In individuals with Type 1 diabetes, the pancreas is unable to produce any insulin, the hormone necessary for the body’s cells to process blood sugar (glucose). Type 1 diabetes is believed to be an autoimmune condition.
People with Type 2 diabetes are able to produce insulin, however, they either can’t produce an adequate amount or the body’s cells are unable to effectively use what is produced to process blood sugar.
In either case, when left untreated, blood sugar levels gradually build up leading to dangerously high glucose levels. Prolonged high blood sugar levels can lead to serious health complications, including cardiovascular disease, nerve damage, kidney disease, retinopathy, and other health concerns.
Developing Type 1 diabetes is somewhat the luck of the draw. It usually presents itself during childhood and will require insulin treatments for life as the body is unable to produce the hormone naturally. On the other hand, those who develop Type 2 diabetes have far more control over their disease. Factors such as weight, fitness level, and diet all play a role in contributing to the development of Type 2 diabetes. Many people do require insulin injections by syringe or insulin pen, but others are able to control their blood sugar with lifestyle changes.
Six Striking Diabetes Statistics
Diabetes is on the rise worldwide and in the United States. In fact, as a nation we rank just behind China and India with the third largest diabetes population in the world and this number continues to expand. Here are some striking facts worth noting.
- The International Diabetes Federation predicts and astonishing 629 million cases of diabetes worldwide by the year 2045.
- There are currently more than 34 million Americans living with diabetes in the United States, which equates to more than 10% of the nation’s entire population.
- More than 21% of those in the United States who have diabetes remain undiagnosed further exacerbating the situation.
- According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 88 million adult Americans, one out of every three, suffer from Prediabetes, a condition where blood sugar levels are outside the normal range but not elevated enough to warrant a diabetes diagnosis. This is a precursor to developing Type 2 diabetes, and 9 out of 10 of individuals who are prediabetic remain unaware of their situation as there are usually no telltale symptoms. If left unchecked, prediabetes will most likely progress into Type 2 diabetes.
- The American Journal of Managed Care points out that one more American is diagnosed with diabetes every 17 seconds.
- In 2019, the World Health Organization cited diabetes as the 9th leading cause of death with an estimated 1.5 million deaths directly related to diabetes. Diabetes ranks 7th among the most common causes of death in the United States.
Facts About Diabetes-Related Complications
Those living with diabetes are twice as likely to die from diabetes-related complications as those who experience these complications and do not have diabetes. These including heart disease, kidney disease, stroke, hypertension, and many others. Here are a few common diabetes-related health problems:
According to the World Health Organization, adults with diabetes have a two to three times higher risk of cardiovascular disease, including heart attacks and strokes.
High blood sugar levels can result in a condition known as diabetic retinopathy, which occurs when the blood vessels of the retina become damaged. It can develop in individuals with both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes and is one of the leading causes of blindness in the United States.
In 2020, the CDC estimated that, among adults aged 18 years and older diagnosed with diabetes, an astonishing 37% also suffered from chronic kidney disease.
High blood sugar for a prolonged period can damage the nerves throughout the body, but those in the legs and feet are at particular risk. Symptoms include tingling, numbness, burning and aching pain. In extreme cases, blood vessels can become so damaged that amputation is required.
Mental Health Concerns
According to a study published by the American Diabetes Association (ADA), individuals with diabetes are twice as likely to suffer from depression as those without diabetes. Managing the disease and all the responsibilities that come with it can certainly take its toll on a person emotionally.
It’s important to make a distinction here. There is no way to prevent Type 1 diabetes. It is a medical condition that has nothing to do with your individual lifestyle or the choices you might or might not make. Type 2 diabetes, on the other hand, can be delayed and sometimes even prevented with lifestyle changes. Considering that up to 95% of all diabetes diagnoses are for Type 2 diabetes, it’s important to discuss prevention first. So what can you do?
The best way to keep diabetes at bay is by eating right (a low carb diet high in vegetables and fibers), staying physically active, and shedding a few pounds if you’re overweight or obese. In fact, according to the CDC’s National Diabetes Prevention Program, individuals who just lost between 5% and 7% of their body weight and added 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week decreased their risk of developing diabetes by up to 58%. That’s a pretty big reduction in risk!
Financial Costs of Diabetes
While the true measure of the diabetes problem is paid on a human front - lives lost and lives diminished by the disease – it’s impossible to ignore the financial toll diabetes presents. The cost of diabetes continues to rise as the prevalence of the disease grows. Here is the startling breakdown according to the ADA, and these numbers date back to 2018. They have surely increased.
$327 billion – the total cost of diagnosed diabetes
$237 billion – direct medical costs related to diabetes
$90 billion – costs in productivity losses due to diabetes
On a more individualized level, people living with diabetes pay more than two times as much for medical care as they would in the absence of diabetes. This is a financial strain many families have a hard time enduring.
Diabetes and Ethnicity
Statistics don’t lie and certain ethnic backgrounds are at higher risk of developing diabetes. The question remains how much of this risk is biological and how much of it is compounded by factors such as economics and access to healthy food options? The reality is underserved communities face a higher risk of diabetes and that in itself points to socio-economic factors contributing to the high prevalence of cases. According to the ADA, rates of diagnosed diabetes in adults by race/ethnicity are as follows:
7.5% of Non-Hispanic Whites
9.2% of Asian Americans
12.5 % of Hispanics
11.7% of Non-Hispanic Blacks
14.7% of American Indians/Alaskan Natives
Living with diabetes comes down to a statistic of one.
At the end of the day, the global statistics and the growing concerns surrounding diabetes, while important topics, will not impact your everyday diabetes health and treatment plan. Your personal health is up to you, and the best things you can do are test your blood sugar regularly, follow your doctor-prescribed medication plan; make smart dietary choices; get in that physical activity each week; and see your physician and care team regularly to monitor progress and make any necessary adjustments. Do these things and, chances are, your individual numbers will look just fine.
Diabetes continues to be a growing problem in the United States and around the world. At Diabetic Warehouse, we’re committed to keeping you informed with the latest news and updates on living with the disease.
We’re also proud to save you up to 65% on your essential diabetic supplies, including test strips, glucose meters, continuous glucose monitoring systems (CGM), insulin syringes, pen needles, and insulin pump cartridges and infusion sets.
Diabetic Warehouse is a trusted supplier of diabetes care products and accessories. For more information and to explore a complete range of products, including glucose meters and test strips, insulin syringes, pen needles, continuous glucose monitoring systems, and more, visit www.diabeticwarehouse.org.