Skip to content

Diabetes Health Center

40% of Americans Will Develop Diabetes: CDC

Rates for black women and Hispanics even higher at 50 percent
Font Size
A
A
A

WebMD News from HealthDay

By Dennis Thompson

HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Aug. 12, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- Approximately two out of every five Americans will develop type 2 diabetes at some point during their adult lives, according to new U.S. government estimates.

The ongoing diabetes and obesity epidemics have combined with ever-increasing human lifespans to increase lifetime risk of type 2 diabetes to about 40 percent for both men and women, said lead study author Edward Gregg, chief of the epidemiology and statistics branch in the division of diabetes translation at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

"We weren't necessarily surprised that it increased, but we didn't expect it to increase this much," Gregg said. "Forty percent is a humbling number."

The odds are even worse for certain minority groups. Half of black women and Hispanic men and women are predicted to develop type 2 diabetes during their lifetime, the researchers reported.

Results of the study were published online Aug. 13 in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology.

Although the study didn't separate diabetes by type, the vast majority of people with diabetes have type 2 diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association. In type 2 diabetes, the body either doesn't produce enough insulin and/or is resistant to the effects of insulin, a hormone needed to use the sugars from foods to fuel the cells in the body and brain.

Obesity is a major risk factor for type 2 diabetes, but it's not the only one. Genes also appear to play a role in the development of type 2 diabetes.

In the current study, researchers evaluated medical information and death certificates for about 600,000 adults between 1985 and 2011, to estimate trends in lifetime risk of diabetes as well as years of life lost to diabetes.

During the quarter-century studied, lifetime risk of type 2 diabetes increased for the average 20-year-old American man, jumping from nearly 21 percent in the late 1980s to just over 40 percent in 2011.

For an average 20-year-old woman, the risk increased from 27 percent in the 1980s to almost 40 percent, the investigators found.

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