Skip to content

Diabetes Health Center

Nearly 10% of U.S. Adults Now Have Diabetes: Study

Researchers found a nationwide rise of the disease since late 1980s, and a parallel rise in obesity
Font Size
A
A
A

WebMD News from HealthDay

By Serena Gordon

HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, April 14, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The percentage of Americans with diabetes has doubled since 1988, with nearly one in 10 adults now diagnosed with the blood-sugar disease, researchers report.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the rate of diagnosed and undiagnosed diabetes was 5.5 percent of the U.S. population. By 2010, that number had risen to 9.3 percent. That means 21 million American adults had confirmed diabetes in 2010, according to the researchers.

Several encouraging findings emerged from the study, however. A smaller proportion of people have undiagnosed diabetes, the report found, suggesting that newer screening techniques may be more efficient.

And the researchers found that overall blood sugar control was improved, although the disease was less well controlled in some minority groups.

"Diabetes has increased dramatically. The rates have almost doubled since the late '80s and early '90s," said Elizabeth Selvin, the study's lead author and an associate professor of epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, in Baltimore.

"This study also highlights that the increase in diabetes really tracks closely with the epidemic of obesity. The diabetes epidemic is really a direct consequence of the rise in obesity," Selvin said.

There are two main types of diabetes -- type 1 and type 2. Type 2 diabetes is the far more prevalent type of diabetes, accounting for 90 percent to 95 percent of all diabetes, according to the National Diabetes Education Program.

Although both types of the disease result in higher-than-normal levels of blood sugar, the cause of each is different. Type 1 is an autoimmune disease, and its development is unrelated to weight. The exact cause of type 2 is unknown, but excess weight and a sedentary lifestyle are known to play a role in its development.

Poorly controlled diabetes poses serious health risks, including heart disease, kidney damage and blindness.

For the new study, the researchers used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), which included more than 43,000 adults followed from the first survey period (1988 to 1994) to the most recent (1999 to 2010).

1 | 2 | 3

Is This Normal? Get the Facts Fast!

Check Your Blood Sugar Level Now
What type of diabetes do you have?
Your gender:

Get the latest Diabetes newsletter delivered to your inbox!


or
Answer:
Low
0-69
Normal
70-130
High
131+

Your level is currently

If the level is below 70 or you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.

People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.

Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.

However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.

Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.

One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Did You Know Your Lifestyle Choices
Affect Your Blood Sugar?

Use the Blood Glucose Tracker to monitor
how well you manage your blood sugar over time.

Get Started

This tool is not intended for women who are pregnant.

Start Over

Step:  of 

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.
 
Woman serving fast food from window
Video
Can Vinegar Treat Diabetes
Video
 
Middle aged person
Tool
are battery operated toothbrushes really better
Video
 

Prediabetes How to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
Article
type 2 diabetes
Slideshow
 
food fitness planner
Tool
Are You at Risk for Dupuytrens Contracture
Article