What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a medical condition in which your body doesn't make sufficient insulin or has a reduced response to insulin. Diabetes causes your blood sugar to be too high because insulin is needed to use sugar properly. A high blood sugar level is not good for your health. For people with Medicare at risk for getting diabetes, Medicare covers a screening blood sugar test to check for diabetes.
You are considered at risk if you have any of the following: high blood pressure, dyslipidemia (history of abnormal cholesterol and triglyceride levels), obesity, or a history of high blood sugar. Other risk factors may also qualify you for this test and based on the results, you may be eligible for up to two screenings per year. Medicare also covers certain supplies and self-management training to find and treat diabetes.
Diabetes is a serious disease. It means blood glucose, which is often called blood sugar is too high. When blood glucose stays high, it can cause serious complications such as heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, blindness, nerve damage, and other health problems. Learn more about how people with diabetes can manage their disease and prevent or delay its complications in the materials listed below.
Diabetes is a group of diseases marked by high levels of blood glucose resulting from defects in insulin production, insulin action, or both. Diabetes can lead to serious complications and premature death, but people with diabetes can take steps to control the disease and lower the risk of complications.
How many Americans have diabetes and pre-diabetes?
- 23.6 million Americans have diabetes — 7.8% of the U.S. population. Of these, 5.7 million do not know they have the disease.
- Each year, about 1.6 million people ages 20 or older are diagnosed with diabetes.
- The number of people diagnosed with diabetes has risen from 1.5 million in 1958 to 17.9 million in 2007, an increase of epidemic proportions.
- It is estimated that 57 million adults aged 20 and older have pre-diabetes. Pre-diabetes is a condition where blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be called diabetes. Studies have shown that by losing weight and increasing physical activity people can prevent or delay pre-diabetes from progressing to diabetes.
What is the prevalence of diabetes by type?
- Type 1 - previously called insulin-dependent or juvenile-onset - diabetes accounts for 5 to 10% of all diagnosed cases of diabetes.
- Type 2 - previously called non-insulin-dependent or adult-onset) diabetes accounts for 90 to 95% of all diagnosed cases of diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is increasingly being diagnosed in children and adolescents.
- Gestational diabetes affects about 7% of all pregnancies, resulting in more than 200,000 cases annually.
What is the prevalence of diabetes by gender?
- 12.0 million men have diabetes (11.2% of all men ages 20 years and older).
- 11.5 million women have diabetes (10.2% of all women ages 20 years and older).
What is the prevalence of diagnosed and undiagnosed diabetes by age?
- 23.5 million Americans ages 20 or older have diabetes — 10.7% of this age group.
- 12.2 million Americans ages 60 or older have diabetes — 23.1% of this age group.
What is the prevalence of diagnosed diabetes in youth?
- 186,300 people under age 20 have type 1 and type 2 diabetes — 0.2% of this age group.
What is the prevalence of diabetes by race/ethnicity?
- Diabetes epidemic among African Americans - 3.7 million; 14.7% of all non-Hispanic blacks aged 20 and older have diagnosed and undiagnosed diabetes.
- Diabetes epidemic among Hispanics/Latinos - 10.4% of Hispanics/Latinos ages 20 or older have diagnosed diabetes.
- Diabetes epidemic among American Indians and Alaska Natives - About 16.5% of American Indians and Alaska Natives aged 20-years and older who are served by the Indian Health Service have diagnosed diabetes
- Diabetes epidemic among Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders - The rate of diagnosed diabetes in Asian Americans is 7.5%. However, prevalence data for diabetes among Pacific Islanders is limited.
How many deaths are linked to diabetes?
- Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death listed on U.S. death certificates.
- Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death among people with diabetes — about 68% die of heart disease or stroke.
- The overall risk for death among people with diabetes is about double that of people without diabetes.
How much does diabetes cost the nation?
- Total health care and related costs for the treatment of diabetes run about $174 billion annually.
- Of this total, direct medical costs (e.g., hospitalizations, medical care, treatment supplies) account for about $116 billion.
The other $58 billion covers indirect costs such as disability payments, time lost from work, and premature death.
Diabetes Is Preventable
Almost 24 million Americans have diabetes, a serious disease in which blood glucose (blood sugar) levels are above normal. Most people with diabetes have type 2, which used to be called adult-onset diabetes. At one time, type 2 diabetes was more common in people over age 45. But now more young people, even children, have the disease because many are overweight or obese.
Plan to get at least 30-minutes of physical activity 5-days each week to help you lose weight. You can get this amount in small ways throughout the day. If you have not been active, talk to your doctor and start slowly to build up to your goal.
Below are some ideas to fit more physical activity into your day:
Park your car farther away from stores, movie theaters, or your office.
Use TV breaks to stretch, take a quick walk around your home, do some sit-ups, or march in place.
Get your friends and family involved. Set a standing walking date. Or do something that everyone enjoys, like shoot hoops, take a bike ride, or line dance.
Walk during your lunch break
Deliver a message to a co-worker in person instead of by e-mail. Take the stairs to your office instead of the elevator.
Start Making Healthy Food Choices
Start today to:
Eat a variety of colorful vegetables and fruits.
Choose whole grain foods, such as whole wheat bread and crackers, oatmeal, brown rice,and cereals.
Lower fat intake by broiling or baking poultry,meats, and fish instead of frying.
Lighten your recipes by using nonfat or low-fat milk, yogurt, cheese, sour cream, cream cheese, or mayonnaise. Use cooking spray instead of oil.
Avoid getting too hungry by eating a healthy snack between meals.
Do not keep chips, cookies, or candy in your home. Instead, for snacks have raw vegetables, fruit, low-fat or nonfat yogurt, or a handful of nuts, pumpkinseeds, or sunflower seeds.
Choose water to drink.
Start Your own personal health Game Plan to Prevent Diabetes
The key to losing weight and preventing diabetes is to make long-term changes which work for you each and every day.
Taking these steps is a great way to get started to lose weight help a diabetic condition.