At least 100 million adults in the United States have diabetes or prediabetes, health authorities have warned.
As of 2015, more than 9 percent of the U.S. population, or 30.3 million, had diabetes, according to the 2017 National Diabetes Statistics Report of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The number of Americans with diabetes rose from 29.1 million in 2014.
Another 84.1 million had prediabetes. In prediabetes, on the other hand, an individual has elevated blood sugar levels, but those have not reached full-blown diabetes status requiring medication or insulin injection.
"Diabetes and prediabetes remain serious threats for more than one-third of Americans―the statistics are staggering," said the American Diabetes Association's chief scientific, medical, and mission officer Dr. William T. Cefalu in a statement.
Over one-third of American adults have prediabetes and most of them do not even know it, warned CDC director Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald, calling for ramped-up efforts to reduce the disease’s burden on patients and the health care system. The agency noted that the condition could escalate to diabetes within five years when left untreated.
According to the CDC report, diabetes incidence increased with age. Of adults ages 18 to 44, 4 percent had been diagnosed, versus 17 percent in people ages 45 to 64 and one-fourth of those ages 65 and above.
Diabetes rates were also found higher in certain ethnic groups, or 15 percent for American Indians or Alaska Natives, 13 percent for blacks, 12 percent for Hispanics, 8 percent for Asians, and 7.4 percent for whites.
What Can Be Done?
Awareness, however, remained low, with almost one in four adults with diabetes unaware they had the disease. Less than 12 percent of prediabetic people, too, did not know of their condition.
Prevention, according to Lenox Hill Hospital endocrinologist Dr. Minisha Sood, remains key in stopping the disease in its tracks.
“Optimal nutrition education and access to good nutrition is critical to our success as a medical community in the battle to prevent diabetes in the U.S.,” Sood said.
In a study published in June, scientists from Sweden discovered a substance in broccoli as an effective treatment agent for type 2 diabetes, competing against the usual prescription drugs.
The research came after testing more than 3,000 compounds that could alter genes that have a hand in type 2 diabetes. The naturally occurring compound sulforaphane, found in broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables, stood out from the rest.