Millions upon millions of people are living with diabetes or prediabetes in the U.S., and many don't know even know they have the condition, according to the latest National Diabetes Statistics Report, which comes out around every two years.
More than 100 million Americans have diabetes or prediabetes, the latter a term meaning blood sugar is high but not high enough to be categorized officially as type 2 diabetes. While the number of new diabetes diagnoses held steady in 2015 at approximately 1.5 million cases, the disease is still a grave U.S. health problem: The L.A. Times referred to it as "about as American as you can get." In 2015, it was the seventh leading cause of death.
"Consistent with previous trends, our research shows that diabetes cases are still increasing, although not as quickly as in previous years," Ann Albright, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Division of Diabetes Translation, said in a statement. "Diabetes is a contributing factor to so many other serious health conditions. By addressing diabetes, we limit other health problems such as heart disease, stroke, nerve and kidney diseases, and vision loss."
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Just about one-quarter of adults (7.2 million people) who had diabetes weren't aware they had it, and just 11.6 percent with prediabetes were aware they did, the CDC report says.
There were key differences in who had the condition and who didn't. More men, for instance, were found to have prediabetes as opposed to women – 36.6 percent compared to 29.3 percent.
The report found cases of diabetes grew as people aged, and were more predominant in American Indians/Alaska Natives, at 15.1 percent, non-Hispanic blacks, at 12.7 percent and Hispanics, at 12.1 percent.
Education also played a role. Of U.S. adults who had less than a high school education, 12.6 percent had the condition compared to adults with a high school education (9.5 percent). Only 7.2 percent of those with more than a high school education had the disease.
People can manage diabetes by exercising, watching their diet and using insulin and medications to keep blood sugar levels in check.