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Diabetes Cuts Years off Life Span of Americans

Study Shows Sharp Increase in Percentage of Adults With Diabetes

Many Don’t Realize They Have Diabetes

The researchers say at least 7.8% of the U.S. population, or some 23.6 million people, have diabetes, including 5.7 million who don’t know they do.

The study also shows that:

  • 23.1% of people 60 and older, or 12.2 million people, have diabetes.
  • By 2034, this number will increase to 44.1 million.
  • By the same year, 14.6 million people who are Medicare-eligible will have the disease.
  • Annual diabetes-related spending is expected to reach $336 billion in 2034, which is almost three times the amount spent in 2009.
  • In 2007, diagnosed diabetes cost the U.S. an estimated $116 billion in direct medical costs and $58 billion in reduced productivity.
  • People with diabetes are responsible for about 20% of U.S. health care expenditures.
  • By 2025, more than half of people with diabetes will be 65 and older, and if this trend continues, it will become primarily a geriatric disease. In 2000, people 65 and older accounted for 40% of U.S. diabetes cases.
  • The prevalence of diabetes is projected to more than double between 2005 and 2050 for U.S. residents 20 to 64 and increase 220% for people between 65 and 74. For people 75 and older the prevalence is expected to increase 449%.
  • Diabetes is more common among non-whites; African-Americans are more likely to develop the disease than either whites or Hispanics.
  • African-Americans are more likely to die from diabetes than either Hispanics or whites. The overall diabetes mortality rate is 41% higher for Hispanics than for whites and 113% higher for non-Hispanic blacks than for whites.

The researchers say diabetes is the fourth leading cause of death among people 45 to 64, and the seventh leading cause of death for those 65 and older. Heart disease, the researchers say, is the main cause of death for older people with diabetes.

Researchers say that weight loss and exercise can be very effective in preventing diabetes in older adults who are at risk for diabetes.

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