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Diabetes Quick Facts

Hand with marker writing the word Facts Myths

The Big Picture

  • More than 30 million people in the United States have diabetes, and 1 in 4 of them don’t know they have it.
  • More than 84 million US adults—over a third—have prediabetes, and 90% of them don’t know they have it.
  • Diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death in the United States (and may be underreported).
  • Type 2 diabetes accounts for about 90% to 95% of all diagnosed cases of diabetes; type 1 diabetes accounts for about 5%.
  • In the last 20 years, the number of adults diagnosed with diabetes has more than tripled as the American population has aged and become more overweight or obese.

Risk

  • You’re at risk for developing prediabetes or type 2 diabetes if you:
    • Are overweight
    • Are age 45 or older
    • Have a parent, brother, or sister with type 2 diabetes
    • Are physically active less than 3 times a week
    • Have ever had gestational diabetes (diabetes while pregnant) or given birth to a baby weighing more than 9 pounds
  • African Americans, Hispanic/Latino Americans, American Indians/Alaska Natives, Pacific Islanders, and some Asian Americans are at higher risk for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes.
  • American Indians/Alaska Natives are twice as likely as whites to have diabetes.
  • During their lifetime, half of all Hispanic men and women and non-Hispanic black women are predicted to develop diabetes.
  • Type 1 diabetes is thought to be caused by an immune reaction (the body attacks itself by mistake). Known risk factors for type 1 diabetes include:
    • Family history (having a parent, brother, sister with type 1 diabetes)
    • Age (it’s more likely to develop in children, teens, and young adults)
  • In the United States, whites are more likely to develop type 1 diabetes than African Americans and Hispanic/Latino Americans.
  • You’re at risk for developing gestational diabetes (diabetes while pregnant) if you:
    • Had gestational diabetes during a previous pregnancy
    • Have given birth to a baby who weighed more than 9 pounds
    • Are overweight
    • Are more than 25 years old
    • Have a family history of type 2 diabetes
    • Have polycystic ovary syndrome
    • Are African American, Hispanic/Latino American, American Indian/Alaska Native, or Pacific Islander
  • Gestational diabetes usually goes away after your baby is born but increases your risk for type 2 diabetes later in life.
  • Babies born to mothers with gestational diabetes are more likely to have obesity as children or teens, and are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes later in life too.

Complications

  • People with diabetes are twice as likely to have heart disease or a stroke as people without diabetes—and at an earlier age.
  • Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure [PDF – 1.32MB], lower-limb amputations, and adult-onset blindness.
  • Smokers are 30–40% more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than nonsmokers.
  • People with diabetes who smoke are more likely to develop serious related health problems, including heart and kidney disease.
  • In about 2 out of 3 American Indians/Alaska Natives with kidney failure, diabetes is the cause.

Cost

  • Medical costs and lost work and wages for people with diagnosed diabetes total $327 billion yearly.
  • Medical costs for people with diabetes are twice as high as for people who don’t have diabetes.
  • Page last reviewed: May 11, 2018
  • Page last updated: May 11, 2018
  • Content source:
  • Maintained By:
    • National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Division of Diabetes Translation
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