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Diabetes Keeps Rising Among U.S. Adults
Date:1/28/2009

13% of people over 20 now have the condition, while 30% are pre-diabetic, study finds

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 28 (HealthDay News) -- The most recent analysis of data on diabetes in the United States finds that almost 13 percent of adults aged 20 and older have the condition, 40 percent of whom have not been diagnosed.

That's a larger proportion of diagnosed patients than noted in a previous study, although the percentage of undiagnosed individuals has remained the same.

"We can say for certain that diagnosed diabetes has increased significantly between the two surveys, from 5.1 percent [in 1988-1994] to 7.7 percent [in 2005-2006]. It seems it has particularly increased in blacks," said Catherine C. Cowie, director of the Diabetes Epidemiology Program at the U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

"On the other hand, the prevalence of undiagnosed diabetes and pre-diabetes [around 30 percent of the population] is generally stable, and that's really good news," she said. "If undiagnosed diabetes has stayed pretty much the same and diagnosed diabetes has gone up, then we're doing a better job of detecting diabetes."

Cowie is lead author of a study published in the February issue of Diabetes Care.

The wide prevalence of pre-diabetic conditions is still troubling, experts said. Pre-diabetes is a condition in which blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be classified as diabetes. Pre-diabetic people are at increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

"There is a large population that has pre-diabetes. Also, one-third are not diagnosed for diabetes and pre-diabetes, so this is a huge population issue that we'll have to deal with as time goes on," warned Dr. Spyros Mezitis, an endocrinologist with Lenox Hill and NewYork-Presbyterian hospitals and professor of medicine at Weill Medical College of Cornell Uni
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