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Diabetes Health Center

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1 in 8 Americans Diagnosed With Type 2 Diabetes

Harris Interactive/HealthDay

WebMD News from HealthDay

By Amanda Gardner

HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 20 (HealthDay News) -- A staggering one in eight Americans has been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, a new Harris Interactive/HealthDay poll suggests.

And more than one third of those polled have been diagnosed with diabetes or have a parent, sibling, spouse or child with the condition.

"Type 2 diabetes has become one of the most common and fastest growing diseases. Fully one in eight adults -- approximately 29 million people -- now report that they have been diagnosed with this dangerous condition," said Harris Poll Chairman Humphrey Taylor.

Added Dr. Ronald Tamler, clinical director of the Mount Sinai Diabetes Center in New York City: "Diabetes is very insidious. You don't know you're in trouble until the complications hit or until it's so out of control you have uncontrolled urination and thirst" -- two of the common symptoms of diabetes.

While type 2 diabetes is occurring in epic proportions, the new poll also found that awareness of the disease is still surprisingly low, with only 21 percent of those surveyed considering themselves well-versed on the disease. That means the remaining 79 percent may not know they're at risk or may already have the disease, which is known as the "silent" killer.

But people already diagnosed with diabetes tend to be much more aware of the health risks, with slightly more than two-thirds considering themselves either "extremely" or "very" knowledgeable about the disease, the poll found.

Still, 35 percent of respondents with diabetes said their diabetes was only "somewhat" controlled and 5 percent said it was "not at all" well controlled.

"Because diabetes is a chronic condition, the treatment of which is critically dependent on patient behavior and self-care, this may be the most alarming finding," Taylor said.

On a more encouraging note, many people polled do understand that a number of factors can contribute to type 2 diabetes, including being overweight (79 percent of respondents realize this is a risk factor), diet (74 percent) and physical inactivity (62 percent).

These numbers were greater among people who had been diagnosed with diabetes.

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