Diabetes Mellitus


Written by StopDiabetes

What are the ten leading causes of death in the United States?

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the top leading causes of death in the United States were as follows as of 2014 (listed in a report in 2015)—and included diabetes:

1. Heart disease (also called ischemic heart disease)
2. Cancer (malignant neoplasms)
3. Chronic lower respiratory disease
4. Accidents (unintentional injuries)
5. Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases)
6. Alzheimer’s disease
7. Diabetes (diabetes mellitus)
8. Influenza and pneumonia
9. Kidney disease (nephritis, nephritic syndrome, and nephrosis)
10. Suicide (intentional self-harm)

Annually, and on average, these ten causes account for nearly 75 percent of all deaths in the United States. In fact, this list has not changed much in several years.

Is diabetes truly the seventh leading cause of death in the United States?

Yes, it is, but in some ways, it should be considered the third leading cause of death. The numbers—seventh or third—are true, but they are dependent on whether people who die from related cardiovascular disease are included. In other words, just diabetes alone accounts for the listing as seventh, whereas diabetes and the often-resulting cardiovascular disease (heart problems in particular) would make diabetes third on the list.

What percentage of people have prediabetes in the United States?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2014, almost 80 million Americans were thought to have prediabetes (also written as pre-diabetes). By 2016, it was estimated that the number had grown to 86 million, but only about 11 percent of prediabetic people realize they have prediabetes. The CDC also suggests that 70 percent of those who have prediabetes (and know it) will go on to develop type 2 diabetes if they do not take care of themselves. In other words, many Americans are ignoring the signs and symptoms of prediabetes and will eventually develop type 2 diabetes. This outcome will, in turn, put a major strain on public health and the health care system—not to mention inflict a possible emotional and most likely economic toll on people and their families.

How many people have diabetes in the United States?

According to Harvard Medical School, to date, there are nearly 26 million Americans with diabetes (mainly type 1 and type 2)—a number that has almost doubled in just over a decade. It is estimated that another 86 million adults have elevated blood sugar levels and are at a higher-than-normal risk for developing diabetes (prediabetes). Thus, overall, it is estimated that one in three Americans has diabetes or has a high risk for developing it.

What percentage of the United States population has type 1 diabetes?

According to the International Diabetes Federation, to date, around 5 percent of the people in the United States with diabetes have type 1 diabetes. Because it is estimated that there are around 26 million Americans with diabetes, “5 percent” means that over 1 million people have type 1 diabetes in the United States (another estimate is that 1.25 million Americans have type 1 diabetes).

According to several statistics from various diabetes organizations, more than 40,000 cases of type 1 diabetes are reported per year in the United States, and that number continues to grow. It is also estimated that by the year 2050, there will be 5 million people in the United States with type 1 diabetes, with nearly 600,000 of them less than 20 years of age.

How many American children and adults are thought to have type 1 diabetes?

Although type 1 diabetes is most often associated with children, it also can affect adults (for more about adult type 1 diabetes, see the chapter “Type 1 Diabetes”). According to the JDRF (formerly the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation), of the 1.25 million Americans who have type 1 diabetes, 200,000 are young (under 20 years old) and over a million are adults (20 and older).

How fast has the number of diabetics in the United States increased over the past 25 years?

According to Harvard Medical School, statistics have shown that the number of Americans with diabetes (all types) has grown sharply—some estimates say doubled in number in just over a decade. It is also estimated that more than 90 percent of the people who have diabetes have type 2 diabetes.

Which one of the largest U.S. cities has the highest diabetes rate?

According to a study conducted at Drexel University in 2014, Philadelphia has the highest diabetes rate among the nation’s largest cities. In addition, the county where Philadelphia is located is considered to have one of the worst health conditions of any county in the state. A study from the journal Advances in Preventive Medicine found in surveying more than 17,000 participants in the Philadelphia area that living in a disadvantaged neighborhood seemed to play a major role in a person’s risk of developing diabetes. Researchers said focusing on the individual to curtail the number of people with the disease in this region would not be as effective as concentrating on the education—and thus the health—of the overall community.

How much is spent on diabetes care each year in the United States?

According to the most recent data (2012), it is thought that spending on diabetes and its care costs more than $245 billion per year in the United States alone—a record high (and it is no doubt even higher as of this writing). Of that, $176 billion went for such diabetes-associated items as medications and emergency care. In fact, in 2010, almost 10 percent of all emergency-room visits in the United States were by people with diabetes-related conditions, such as nerve damage, eye trouble, and kidney and circulatory problems.

What are the four leading causes of death worldwide?

According to the World Health Organization, in 2012 (the most recent data was updated in 2014), ischemic heart disease, stroke, lower respiratory infections, and chronic obstructive lung disease were the top major killers worldwide. In fact, this four-causes list has remained the same for the past decade. (The lung-related ailments were listed at around 3.1 million deaths per year.) Even though this short list does not include diabetes, heart disease is often found in connection with diabetes. (Diabetes was listed as the eighth leading cause at 1.5 million deaths per year.)

How many people around the world are thought to have prediabetes?

According to the International Diabetes Federation, in 2013 (the latest data from IDF), around 316 million people have what is called impaired glucose intolerance (or impaired fasting glucose), or prediabetes. This number has grown significantly in the past decade.

Has the number of deaths from diabetes increased worldwide?

Yes, according to data from the World Health Organization (WHO), diabetes caused around one million deaths in the year 2000. In 2012 (updated in 2014), the number increased, with diabetes causing around 1.5 million deaths. (Note: These numbers do not distinguish between people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes.)

How many people die of diabetes-related complications around the world each year?

The statistics concerning how many people die of diabetes-related complications around the world each year would fill many pages of this book. Such information can be found on several diabetes-education websites, such as the International Diabetes Federation (www.idf.org). For example, in 2013, the IDF estimated that 5.1 million people died of diabetes-related complications worldwide.

Why is it difficult to estimate the number of people with diabetes around the world or for specific countries?

Probably the main problem when estimating how many people have diabetes is that there is no national registry or database for the disease in most countries or even an international database (unlike for some infectious diseases or even for such conditions as Lyme disease). In addition, many reports of deaths from diabetes are actually couched in terms of secondary diseases, such as heart or kidney failure (which can be from diabetes but are listed only as heart or kidney failure). Thus, many organizations that present statistics on how many people have diabetes may be underestimating the disease.

How many children around the world have type 1 diabetes?

It is estimated that 542,000 children worldwide have type 1 diabetes. Of this number, about 200,000 live in the United States, according to the JDRF (formerly called the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation). And it is thought that the numbers will keep rising around the world. For example, according to the International Diabetes Federation, more than 79,000 children developed type 1 diabetes in 2013. This number was up from 77,800 in 2011.

Which continent has the highest number of children with type 1 diabetes?

According to the International Diabetes Federation, the European continent has the highest number of children with type 1 diabetes. It is not known why this is so, but some researchers suggest that it may be due to one or more environmental, genetic, or dietary factors.

How many people have diabetes in the United Kingdom?

As of this writing, it is estimated that 3.2 million people in the United Kingdom have diabetes. It is estimated that the number will reach 5 million people by the year 2025.

Why do some researchers believe sugar may have a direct link to diabetes in other countries?

In a study conducted in 2013, researchers suggested that the amount of sugar sold in a country may have a close link to diabetes. In particular, the study examined data of global sugar availability and diabetes rates from 175 different countries over the past ten years. They found that as the sugar in certain countries’ food supplies increased (and therefore, consumption increased), there were higher type 2 diabetes rates. In addition, they found that the longer a population was exposed to excess sugar, the higher the diabetes rate. The study’s statistical methods controlled for factors such as obesity rates, calories available per day, percentage of the population age 65 or older (as age is associated with increased diabetes risk), and so on. Thus, because of this study, some researchers suggest that sugar may affect the liver and pancreas in ways that other types of foods or obesity do not.
Of course, not all researchers agree. Many believe that obesity has a direct and major effect on a person’s predisposition toward type 2 diabetes, along with total calorie intake. This study, too, does not prove that sugar causes diabetes—either type 1 or 2. But it does add more data to the quandary faced by many researchers who are trying to understand why there has been such an increase in the number of people worldwide who have diabetes. (For more about sugar in the diet and diabetes, see the chapter “Diabetes and Eating.”)

What is the estimate as to how many people with diabetes die of heart disease or stroke?

According to the American Diabetes Association, it is estimated that more than 65 percent of people with diabetes die of heart disease or stroke. But the association also notes that if people with diabetes manage their blood pressure and cholesterol—along with their blood glucose levels—they can greatly reduce their risk of both heart disease and stroke.

How many people are afflicted by diabetes around the world—and will be affected in the future?

In 2015, the International Diabetes Federation estimated that there were 415 million adults with diabetes around the world, or one person in 11 has the disease. This is merely an estimate, as it is thought that one in two adults (or around 46.5 percent) with diabetes is undiagnosed. The organization also estimates that by the year 2040, around 642 million people—or about one person in ten—will have the disease.
Of course, like many statistics, numbers reported depend on the organization. For example, in 2016 the UN World Health Organization released its figures: 422 million adults around the world—or one in 11 people or 8.5 percent of the population—have diabetes. WHO also reported that in 2012, 1.5 million deaths were caused by diabetes, with higher-than-optimal blood glucose levels causing an additional 2.2 million deaths that year, mainly by the increased risk of cardiovascular and other diseases.

What are some of the reasons for the higher levels of type 2 diabetes around the world?

There is probably no one reason for the high levels of type 2 diabetes around the world, and many researchers mention several factors. For example, type 2 diabetes seems to be associated with higher levels of urbanization; an aging population; more sedentary lifestyles; and unhealthful diets (which often include a high sugar intake). In addition, according to the International Diabetes Federation, around 75 percent of people with diabetes live in low-and middle-income countries (but IDF does not list type 1 and type 2 diabetes separately).

Are treatments for diabetes available around the world?

Although most wealthy countries have a good supply of insulin available for people with diabetes, several do not. For example, according to the World Health Organization, essential diabetes medicines and technologies, including insulin, that are needed for treatments are mainly available in only one in three of the world’s poorest countries.

On average, how much is spent on diabetes around the world?

According to the International Diabetes Federation, in 2015, 12 percent of global health expenditures were spent on diabetes. By the year 2040, with the increase in the number of people with diabetes, it is estimated that the amount of global health expenditures for the disease will be around $802 billion (U.S.) per year.

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