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Some Facts & Statistics About Diabetes

Talking Blood Glucose Meter

Talking Blood Glucose Meter

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According to the World Health Organization (WHO) diabetes is a chronic, worldwide disease that is found in all people and across all cultural and ethnic groups. The organization reports that there are 346 million people living with diabetes worldwide with approximately 3.4 million deaths in 2004 attributed to this disease.  In the United States alone the American Diabetes Association reports that about 8.3% of the population, or about 25.8 million people, have diabetes. This number includes just less than 19 million people that have been diagnosed and an estimated 7 million undiagnosed.


Age And Gender Differences:


Research from the American Diabetes Association 2011 National Fact Sheet indicates some alarming trends in the diagnosis of the disease. There are different trends within age groups, genders and ethnicities in the development of both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.

In general the older the individual is the more likely they are to develop diabetes. People under the age of 20 have the lowest rate with approximately 0.26% of the entire population diagnosed. Most of these young people diagnosed with diabetes historically have Type 1 diabetes with the exact rate being approximately one in four hundred. However, with juvenile obesity and diet changing dramatically the rate of Type 2 diabetes in this age group is also increasing.


As people age the rate of diagnosed diabetes increases, as does the rate of undiagnosed cases. Between the ages of 20 and 65 approximately 11.3% of the population is diagnosed and over the age of 65 the percentage more than doubles to a rate of 26.9%. Men are slightly more likely to develop diabetes than women, especially over the age of 20. There are approximately 13 million men and 12.6 million women in the United States currently diagnosed with Types 1 and 2 diabetes.


Ethnic Differences:


People of different ethnic backgrounds living within the United States have different rates of diagnoses of diabetes. The highest rate is found in Native Americans and Native Alaskans followed by non-Hispanic blacks with 12.6%. Next in the study is Hispanics at 11.8%. Americans of Asian heritage had an 8.4% diagnosis rate and non-Hispanic whites in the country had the lowest rate at 7.1%.


Ethnic prevalence rates for diabetes also varies in other studies conducted outside of the United States. Diabetes.co.uk, researching in the United Kingdom, found that individuals of South Asian descent and those of African or African-Caribbean descent had six and three times the diagnoses rate than individuals not from those cultural backgrounds.


The specific reasons for this disparity in diagnosis is attributed to lack of medical  information to those communities, less service through health care systems that focus on education and early intervention as well as genetic factors that may predispose blood glucose problems associated with Type 2 diabetes.


Additional Health Risks:


Individuals with diabetes, either Type 1 or Type 2, are more likely to have other medical issues than those patients not diagnosed with diabetes. These can include the risk of death by complications associated directly with diabetes or the result of diabetes being identified as a contributing factor to death.


Heart disease and stroke are major health risks for those with diabetes. The CDC, Center for Disease Control and Prevention, indicates that people diagnosed with diabetes have an increased risks for stroke of two to four times that of non-diabetic adults of the same age. Hypertension, a leading contributing factor to stroke, is also present in approximately 67% of diagnosed diabetics. Individuals that have diabetes are also at greater risk for kidney failure (44%), blindness (28.5%) and amputation of the lower limbs.


Early diagnoses and ongoing blood glucose monitoring and control is essential in minimizing the risk to those living with diabetes. Monitoring, regular visits to your doctor and increasing education on diabetes can also assist in decreasing the risks to all people diagnosed with the condition.