On World Diabetes Day, half of diabetics don't know they have the disease

It's World Diabetes Day, but you may not even know you have the disease.

In a shocking report released by the International Diabetes Foundation (IDF) today, results show that of the 371 million people who have diabetes, 187 million of them are completely in the dark about even having the condition.

Seventh leading cause of death in US

How is it possible that the seventh leading cause of death in the US goes unnoticed? It often doesn't have very noticeable symptoms--that is, until they get so bad that a person requires medical care. Diabetes can lead to a range of health problems, including serious complications like heart attacks, kidney failure, blindness and strokes. Jean Claude Mbanya, President of the IDF, expressed concern in a press release issued today:

"As millions of undiagnosed people develop diabetes complications, we can expect to see the mortality rate climb. On World Diabetes Day, we want to raise awareness that this disease can be controlled and in some cases prevented."

The report shows that 366 million people had diabetes last year, and about 4 million died from the disease. A projected 4.8 million diabetes-related fatalities are expected by the end of 2012. Even more interesting? Half of these deaths are predicted to be people under 60 years old.

Not just a Western disease

And while diabetes has long been thought of as mostly a Western-world problem, it seems the disease is starting to affect more third-world countries. Additionally, the report noted that four out of five people with diabetes live in low to middle class communities.

According to the IDF, about 552 million people globally will have diabetes by the year 2030. Diabetes organizations are urging people to get screened, and companies like CVS Pharmacy are offering free blood glucose panels to customers during the entire month of November.

Sources: CBS News, Fox News

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