1 in 8 Americans Diagnosed With Type 2 Diabetes
There was an exception. Only 39 percent of adults overall and 56 percent of those with type 2 diabetes knew that the disease can cause strokes.
"People need to be aware that this is another disease caused by diabetes that can be prevented," said Nancy Copperman, director of Public Health Initiatives at North Shore-LIJ Health System in Great Neck, N.Y. "The idea of having a stroke might motivate them to change their lifestyle."
The disease seems to be taking a toll on those polled, with 20 percent acknowledging it has been a "significant" burden and 43 percent saying it has been "somewhat" of a burden for themselves and their families. The burden comes in the form of dietary restrictions, medication costs, eye problems, cardiovascular problems and foot problems.
In addition, 9 percent of people with type 2 diabetes said the condition has rendered them unable to work.
Still, with awareness of genetic factors as well as lifestyle contributors, "you can live a very full and happy life and thrive with diabetes," said Mount Sinai's Tamler.
In people with type 2 diabetes, either the body doesn't produce enough of the hormone insulin or cells can't use the insulin properly. Insulin is necessary for the body to use glucose -- blood sugar -- for energy. When glucose builds up in the blood instead of going into cells, it can lead to diabetes complications, according to the American Diabetes Association.
The prevalence of type 2 diabetes found in this new poll is higher than that reported by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, although the CDC data is more rigorous, Ratner said.
The poll was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive from Feb. 4 through 6, among 2,090 adults aged 18 and older. The survey was not based on a probability sample, so no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.
Calculate your risk for diabetes at the American Diabetes Association.