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U.S. Diabetes Cases Jump to 29 Million: CDC

Nearly 1 in 10 people now face higher risks for various ills linked to the blood sugar disease, report finds
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At the same time, total medical costs and lost work and wages associated with diabetes and its complications rose from $174 billion in 2007 to $245 billion in 2012.

One expert said the new numbers were discouraging but not unexpected.

"The increasing number of people with diabetes in the United States and worldwide is not surprising to the caregivers at the front lines of the epidemic," said Dr Ronald Tamler, clinical director of the Mount Sinai Diabetes Center at The Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City.

However, he stressed that, "while a third of the country is at risk for developing diabetes, it can be prevented with lifestyle changes. Patients with diabetes can live full, active lives, but need to seek out comprehensive medical care to avoid the complications of their condition."

Left untreated, diabetes boosts the risk of serious health problems such as heart disease, stroke, vision loss, kidney failure, limb amputation and premature death. Diabetes can be managed through physical activity, diet and the use of insulin and medications to lower blood sugar levels.

It's also important for diabetes patients to take steps to reduce heart disease risk factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and smoking, the CDC said.

Another diabetes care expert questions whether the resources are there to care for all these patients.

"With more people identified, we need more resources and providers to care and educate them," said Dr. Loren Wissner Greene, Clinical Associate Professor at the NYU School of Medicine in New York City.

"Unless diabetes can be prevented or well treated and blood sugar controlled, we face an escalating and devastating future of human and financial cost," she said.

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