res levels of blood glucose (sugar) over a period of two to three months -- could help account for at least some of the rising numbers.
But the CDC's National Diabetes Fact Sheet for 2011 also notes that about 27 percent of Americans with diabetes, or about 7 million people, still do not know they have the disease. Among the other data included in the fact sheet:
- About 1.9 million American adults were diagnosed with diabetes in 2010.
- Diabetes rates continue to soar among racial and ethnic minorities. Among adults, diabetes rates were about 16 percent for American Indians/Alaska Natives, 12.6 percent for blacks, nearly 12 percent for Hispanics, 8.4 percent for Asian Americans, and just over 7 percent for whites.
- Half of Americans aged 65 and older have prediabetes and nearly 27 percent have full-blown diabetes.
- Around 215,000 Americans younger than age 20 have diabetes, including type 1 diabetes.
The 2011 diabetes incidence estimates mark a continued rise. In 2008, for example, the CDC estimated that 23.6 million Americans (7.8 percent) had diabetes and 57 million adults had prediabetes.
Besides the obesity epidemic and the switch to A1c-based diagnosis, the agency said that improvements in diabetes management may mean that many people with the disease are living longer, raising the total number affected.
Still, "these distressing numbers show how important it is to prevent type 2 diabetes and to help those who have diabetes manage the disease to prevent serious complications such as kidney failure and blindness," Ann Albright, director of CDC's Division of Diabetes Translation, said in an agency news release.
"We know that a structured lifestyle program that includes losing weight and increasing physical activity can prevent or delay type 2 diabetes," she added.
Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States and now costs $174 billion a year, including $116 billion
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