About Half of U.S. Adults Have Pre-Diabetes or Diabetes

About half of all American adults have either pre-diabetes or diabetes, according to a new study published in JAMA.

The research included data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) that was conducted between 1988-1994.

In 2011 to 2012, 38 percent of U.S. adults had pre-diabetes and 12 percent had diabetes, while more than one-third of people with diabetes didn't know they had the condition, the study reported.

“By learning more about who has diabetes – and who has the disease but does not know it – we can better target research and prevention efforts,” said Dr. Griffin P. Rodgers, Director of the NIH's National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. “We have treatments to help people with diabetes, but treatments can only help those who have been diagnosed. I hope our research can serve as a reminder for people at risk for diabetes to get screened for this potentially devastating disease.”

Older adults, minorities most vulnerable

The percentage of people with undiagnosed diabetes was highest among Asian Americans - about 50 percent of Asian Americans in the study did not know they had diabetes. One-third of whites, 37 percent of blacks and 49 percent of Hispanics with diabetes also were unaware they had the condition.

Older adults were also most likely to have diabetes, according to the study.

"The large proportion of people with undiagnosed diabetes points to both a greater need to test for type 2 diabetes and a need for more education on when to test for type 2 diabetes, " said study co-author Catherine Cowie, director of diabetes epidemiology programs at NIDDK.

While the prevalence of diabetes appeared to level off between 2007 and 2012, researchers hope the current study will expand and sustain efforts to increase the availability of diabetes prevention programs and testing.

Source: The JAMA Network
Image courtesy of stockimages/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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