Diabetes Up 90% in U.S.

CDC: West Virginia Has Highest Diabetes Rate; Obesity Blamed

From the WebMD Archives

Oct. 30, 2008 -- Scary Halloween news from the CDC: Type 2 diabetes is up 90% since 1997.

And that may be an underestimate because the numbers come from self-reported surveys conducted by the CDC in 1995-1997 and in 2005-2007. About a third of people with diabetes don't yet know they have the dangerous disease.

"This dramatic increase in the number of people with diabetes highlights the increasing burden of diabetes across the country," CDC data analyst Karen Kirtland, PhD, says in a news release.

For the first time, the CDC has state-specific data on diabetes. Southern states have the highest diabetes rate. Among the 10 states with the highest diabetes rates, only Arizona is not in the South. The other nine are Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and West Virginia.

West Virginia takes the dubious honor of being the U.S. diabetes capital. Of the 33 states for which the CDC has complete data, West Virginia has the highest annual diabetes rate -- 12.7 new diabetes cases for every 1,000 residents.

Minnesota has the lowest annual diabetes rate: five new cases per 1,000 residents. But even in the "best" state, diabetes is way up -- by 67% -- over the last decade.

California has the highest number of new diabetes cases. In 1997, 208,000 Californians were told they had diabetes.

What's going on?

"The growth in diabetes prevalence has been concomitant with growth in obesity prevalence," Kirtland and colleagues report in the Oct. 31 issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

In the South, 27.3% of people are obese. But Americans aren't exactly lean in other regions. The obesity rate is 26.5% in the Midwest, 24.4% in the Northeast, and 23.1% in the West.

Obesity, the CDC says, is the major risk factor for diabetes. Yet it's not necessary to become thin to avoid this debilitating disease.

A study of people at high risk for diabetes shows you can cut your risk of diabetes by 58% in a three-year period by doing just two things:

Continued

State Diabetes Rankings

To minimize errors, the CDC averaged the study data over two-year periods. The latest data, from 2005-2007, is compared to data from 1995-1997. Complete data are available for 33 states.

Here's the CDC's list of states, in order of annual, age-adjusted diabetes rate per thousand residents. Increases compare rates from 2005-2007 to rates from 1995-1997.

  1. West Virginia: 12.7 new cases per year, up 119%
  2. South Carolina: 11.5 new cases per year, up 113%
  3. Alabama: 11.3 new cases per year, up 109%
  4. Georgia: 11.2 new cases per year, up 81%
  5. Texas: 11.1 new cases per year, up 156%
  6. Tennessee: 11.0 new cases per year, up 112%
  7. Kentucky: 10.5 new cases per year, up 163%
  8. Arizona: 10.4 new cases per year, up 100%
  9. Florida: 10.3 new cases per year, up 203%
  10. Indiana: 10.2 new cases per year, up 76%
  11. Arkansas: 10.2 new cases per year, up 122%
  12. North Carolina: 10.1 new cases per year, up 77%
  13. Idaho: 9.8 new cases per year, up 216%
  14. California: 9 new cases per year, up 36%
  15. Missouri: 8.8 new cases per year, up 69%
  16. New Mexico: 8.7 new cases per year, up 64%
  17. Pennsylvania: 8.6 new cases per year, up 83%
  18. Maine: 8.3 new cases per year, up 102%
  19. New Hampshire: 8 new cases per year, up 135%
  20. Iowa: 8 new cases per year, up 63%
  21. Utah: 7.8 new cases per year, up 73%
  22. New Jersey: 7.7 new cases per year, up 64%
  23. Virginia: 7.6 new cases per year, up 38%
  24. South Dakota: 7.3 new cases per year, up 181%
  25. Montana: 7.1 new cases per year, up 97%
  26. North Dakota: 7.0 new cases per year, up 35%
  27. Oregon: 6.7 new cases per year, up 43%
  28. Vermont: 6.6 new cases per year, up 43%
  29. Ohio: 6.3 new cases per year, up 91%
  30. Colorado: 6.2 new cases per year, up 72%
  31. Wyoming: 6.1 new cases per year, up 15%
  32. Hawaii: 5.9 new cases per year, up 40%
  33. Minnesota: 5.0 new cases per year, up 67%

By region:

South: 10.5 new cases per year, up 133%

West: 8.6 new cases per year, up 51%

Northeast: 8.2 new cases per year, up 78%

Midwest: 7.4 new cases per year, up 76%

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Diabetes Symptoms

Type 2 diabetes makes up 95% of diabetes cases. How do you know if you have it? The best way, of course, is to have regular medical checkups.

Symptoms of undiagnosed diabetes include:

  • Slow-healing sores or cuts
  • Itching of the skin (usually around the vaginal or groin area)
  • Frequent yeast infections
  • Recent weight gain
  • Velvety dark skin changes of the neck, armpit, and groin
  • Numbness and tingling of the hands and feet
  • Decreased vision
  • Impotence

People with diabetes can no longer control their blood sugar. When blood sugar soars, symptoms include:

WebMD Health News Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD on October 30, 2008

Sources

SOURCES:

CDC, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, Oct. 31, 2008; vol 57: pp 1169-1173.

News release, CDC.

WebMD Medical Reference: "Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes."

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