Diabetes Statistics

Often called the “silent killer”, diabetes is a growing epidemic which can cause blindness, kidney failure, heart attacks and stroke.  More than 16 million Americans have diabetes, but more than 5 million of them aren’t aware of their condition. With one out of every three diabetes cases undetected, millions of Americans don’t realize they have the potentially deadly disease and are unaware of the dangers.

Diabetics are at 15 times the risk of experiencing limb amputations following initial surgery as compared win the non-diabetic population.  Between 5 to 15 percent of diabetic patients require an amputation at some time in their lives. Diabetes is the leading cause of lower extremity amputations.  In 1990, more than 54,000 lower-limb amputations occurred among diabetics.

Diabetes is increasing at a startling rate.  In the last decade there has been a 33% increase of people with Type II diabetes.  The Centers for Disease Control estimate that one in every three Americans will have diabetes by the year 2050.

You can greatly reduce your risk of developing diabetes with only modest changes in behavior.  Recent studies show that a brisk 30 minute walk five times a week and dropping 10 pounds can not only improve your fitness, but it can cut your risk of Type II diabetes in half.

Health experts blame the increase in diabetes largely on the rise in obesity and unhealthy lifestyles.  Americans are eating too much fatty food and spend too much time sitting in front of computers and TVs instead of getting up and exercising.  Doctors find this news alarming because diabetes is largely preventable.  They emphasize that regular exercise and a healthy diet go a long way towards prevention.  And Type II diabetes is not only rising steeply in the population formerly most affected by the disease – people over 45, but also among younger people in their 30s and even teenagers. 

Possible symptoms of Type II diabetes include excessive thirst, frequent urination, sudden weight loss, fatigue, blurred vision, and tingling or numbness in the hands or feet.  Check with your doctor if you have any of these symptoms, especially if you are overweight.  The local American Diabetes Association may also offer free screenings.  Diabetes is easily detected with testing, and current guidelines recommend being tested every three years beginning at age 45.

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