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More Than 29 Million Americans Have Diabetes; 25 Percent of Them Don?t Know It

Prevention efforts crucial to combat serious health risks.

Posted June 16, 2014

More than 29 million people in the United States have diabetes, up from the previous estimate of 26 million in 2010, according to a report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Twenty-five percent of them don’t even know they have the disease. Another 86 million adults-more than one in three U.S. adults-have prediabetes, where their blood sugar levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be classified as type 2 diabetes. Without weight loss and moderate physical activity, 15 to 30 percent of people with prediabetes will develop type 2 diabetes within five years.

People with diabetes are at increased risk for serious health complications including vision loss; heart disease; stroke; kidney failure; amputation of toes, feet, and legs; and premature death.

“These new numbers are alarming and underscore the need for an increased focus on reducing the burden of diabetes in our country,” said Ann Albright, PhD, RD, director of the CDC’s Division of Diabetes Translation. “Diabetes is costly in both human and economic terms. It’s urgent that we take swift action to effectively treat and prevent this serious disease.”

Key findings from the National Diabetes Statistics Report, 2014 (based on health data from 2012) include the following:

  • 29 million people in the United States (9.3 percent) have diabetes.
  • 1.7 million people age 20 or older were newly diagnosed with diabetes in 2012.
  • Non-Hispanic black, Hispanic, and American Indian/Alaska Native adults are about twice as likely to have diagnosed diabetes as non-Hispanic white adults.
  • 208,000 people younger than 20 have been diagnosed with diabetes (type 1 or type 2).
  • 86 million adults age 20 and older have prediabetes.
  • The percentage of U.S. adults with prediabetes is similar for non-Hispanic whites (35 percent), non-Hispanic blacks (39 percent), and Hispanics (38 percent).

Diabetes is a serious disease that can be managed through physical activity, diet, and appropriate use of insulin and oral medications to lower blood sugar levels. Another important part of diabetes management is reducing other cardiovascular disease risk factors, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and tobacco use.

In 2012, diabetes and its related complications accounted for $245 billion in total medical costs and lost work and wages. This figure is up from $174 billion in 2007.

For more information about diabetes and CDC’s diabetes prevention efforts, including evidence-based and cost-effective interventions, such as CDC’s National Diabetes Prevention Program, visit