Diabetes Prevalence Reaches 26 Million in United States

8.3 percent of U.S. population now affected, and 35 percent of adults have prediabetes

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Nearly 26 million people in the United States have diabetes, and 79 million U.S. adults are estimated to have prediabetes, according to new estimates released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Members of the CDC collected data from their own surveys, the Indian Health Service's National Patient Information Reporting System, the U.S. Renal Data System of the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Census Bureau, and published studies to compile a fact sheet representing the current status of diabetes in the United States.

The researchers note that, in 2011, diabetes affects 8.3 percent of all Americans, or almost 26 million people, and that prediabetes affects 35 percent (79 million) of adults aged 20 and older. The CDC estimates that 27 percent of individuals with diabetes, or 7 million people, do not know they have it. In 2008, the agency estimated that 23.6 million Americans -- 7.8 percent of the population -- had diabetes and that 57 million adults had prediabetes. The CDC notes that the 2011 estimates have increased because more people are developing diabetes, more people are living longer with the disease, and hemoglobin A1c is now used as a diagnostic test and was incorporated into national prevalence calculations for the first time.

"These distressing numbers show how important it is to prevent type 2 diabetes and to help those who have diabetes manage the disease to prevent serious complications such as kidney failure and blindness," Ann Albright, Ph.D., R.D., director of CDC's Division of Diabetes Translation, said in a statement. "We know that a structured lifestyle program that includes losing weight and increasing physical activity can prevent or delay type 2 diabetes."

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