The survey was commissioned by the American Diabetes Association to raise awareness about the disease, which it says strikes almost 24 million adults and children in the U.S.
“Unfortunately, people don’t seem to take diabetes seriously and they don’t seem to realize that diabetes -- if left untreated or poorly treated-- can be a very scary disease,” Ann Albright, PhD, RD, president of health care & education at the American Diabetes Association, says in a news release.
“We don’t like to unnecessarily scare people, but the findings from this survey are alarming because diabetes is more deadly than these other fears and Americans are more likely to have a personal experience with diabetes than shark attacks or snake bites.”
Diabetes is often considered a silent disease because the symptoms can creep up slowly and may not be noticed. The ADA states that 57 million people in the U.S. are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes.
But the American Diabetes Association wants people to know that diabetes is the leading cause of kidney disease, amputation, and blindness.
In a news release, the group also points out that since 1987, death rates from diabetes have increased, while deaths from heart disease, stroke, and cancer have fallen.
The ADA has dubbed November American Diabetes Month.