Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Diabetes Health Center

Font Size

U.S. Diabetes Rate Soars

CDC: No End in Sight as Diabetes Epidemic Gains Speed
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

June 25, 2007 (Chicago) - The U.S. diabetes epidemic is picking up speed like a "runaway train," the CDC says.

Type 2 diabetes makes up 90% to 95% of these cases. Unlike type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes is preventable.

But that doesn't mean Americans are preventing it. On the contrary, 7% of the U.S. population -- nearly 21 million of us -- already have diabetes. And the diabetes epidemic is growing by almost 5% a year, according to a study led by Linda S. Geiss, MA, the CDC's chief of diabetes surveillance.

Geiss presented the study findings at the American Diabetes Association's 67th Annual Scientific Sessions, held June 22-26 in Chicago.

"We found that diabetes and obesity are growing together," Geiss says. "It has grown for the last 15 years and there is no hint of it slowing down."

Can we stop the epidemic? No, Geiss says -- not until we find the brakes.

"The strength and magnitude of the change is so great, this is not something we can stop overnight," she says. "Like a runaway train, we must slow it down before we can stop it."

Geiss's team looked at data from U.S. health surveys covering the years 1963 to 2005. They found three distinct stages in the diabetes epidemic:

  • 1963 to 1975 was a period of a sharp increase in diabetes. Prevalence increased from 13.6 to 25.8 per 1,000 Americans.
  • Diabetes leveled off in 1975, and did not increase until 1990. It's not clear exactly why this happened. It could simply be a result of the standardization of diabetes diagnosis in 1975.
  • "Then, in 1990, diabetes really took off," Geiss says. Prevalence shot up from 26.4 to 54.5 per 1,000 people.

Ann Albright, PhD, RD, director of the CDC's division of diabetes translation, says this diabetes surge could undo the progress that's been achieved in fighting heart disease.

"With diabetes beginning to strike at younger ages, we may reverse the trends we have seen in reducing heart disease," Albright said at an ADA news conference. "Obesity and diabetes are important public health problems."

Today on WebMD

Diabetic tools
Symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and more.
woman flexing muscles
10 strength training exercises.
Blood sugar test
12 practical tips.
Tom Hanks
Stars living with type 1 or type 2.
kenneth fujioka, md
Can Vinegar Treat Diabetes
Middle aged person
Home Healthcare

Prediabetes How to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
type 2 diabetes
food fitness planner