We received good news last week: The rate of newly diagnosed cases of diabetes has sharply dropped in the United States. But plenty of people are diagnosed with diabetes each day and more still are trying to manage their diabetes. For the American Diabetes Association®, that means there is still a lot more work to be done.
The report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showed the annual number of newly diagnosed cases of diabetes dropped nearly 20 percent, from 1.7 million to 1.4 million, between 2008 and 2014.
This news suggests that Americans are making positive lifestyle choices to reduce their risk for developing type 2 diabetes. That’s exciting—but there is more to this picture.
The decrease represents only whites and not high-risk minority populations. African Americans and Hispanics are almost twice as likely to have diabetes as non-Hispanic whites. Asian Americans also have increased chances for developing type 2 diabetes, because a risk factor is body mass index (BMI). A BMI greater than 25 indicates greater risk for most Americans, but for Asian Americans the risk increases at a BMI of 23.
And there is a difference between incidence and prevalence—how many new cases are being reported, versus how many people actually have diabetes.
Nearly 30 million Americans live with diabetes, with someone being diagnosed every 23 seconds. Another 86 million across the nation have prediabetes, putting them at high risk for type 2. Just last week, the World Diabetes Congress in Vancouver, Canada, reported that the United States still has the highest diabetes rate among 38 developed nations.
Because of these statistics, everyone should be screened for diabetes.
If you already live with diabetes or prediabetes, know that we are here to help. Education and increased access to diabetes management and prevention resources can help you better manage diabetes. You can:
- Visit diabetes.org for information about diabetes, self-management education programs and support. You can also find your local American Diabetes Association office or even a summer camp for your child with diabetes.
- Go to diabetesforecast.org, the official site for our Diabetes Forecast magazine, for tips on meal planning, exercise and weight loss plans. You’ll also find the latest research and recommended ways to manage diabetes, plus inspirational stories of people living well with the disease.
- Call us at 1-800-DIABETES (800-342-2383). We can answer your non-medical questions in English, Spanish or other requested languages.
- Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll reply within 48 hours.
Diabetes is indeed very serious, but it can be managed. People with diabetes of all ages and walks of life accomplish amazing things each and every day. They are the reason why we can’t let down our guard in the fight to Stop Diabetes®, and why we’ll continue to be there for you.
Maggie Powers, PhD, RD, CDE, is President-Elect, Health Care & Education, with the American Diabetes Association. She is a research scientist at the International Diabetes Center at Park Nicollet Health Services in Minneapolis.