"We're not working on preventing as much as we should. We have a problem with 20 million Americans having diabetes, but the projections are that this will [dramatically increase]," he said. "We're not talking about curing the disease in the next few years. It's all going to be about management."
Diabetes carries with it a number of serious complications, including kidney failure, blindness, amputation and even death.
The national survey on which this study was based involved almost 7,300 people aged 12 and over who were interviewed in their homes in 2005 and 2006. Participants also had blood glucose measurements taken. This data was compared to earlier data gathered from 1988-1994.
The survey included data on an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) which had not been used for 15 years, in addition to other measures of blood sugar. The OGTT is a more sensitive test.
Overall, more than 40 percent of the people surveyed had either diabetes or pre-diabetes. This included one-third of the elderly with diabetes and three-quarters with pre-diabetes.
Mexican Americans and non-Hispanic blacks had about twice the rate of diabetes as non-Hispanic whites, although undiagnosed diabetes in these populations was not higher.
"In the Mexican-American population, doctors are becoming more and more aware that this is a big problem that was, in the past, underdiagnosed and is now diagnosed more readily," said Dr. Stuart Weiss, clinical assistant professor of medicine at New York University School of Medicine in New York City. "We're not letting that slide as much as we used to."
Pre-diabetes is more common in men (36 percent) than in women (23 percent). About 16 percent of youths aged 12 to 19 have pre-diabetes, although diabetes itself is rare.
There have been decreases in the proportion of undiagnosed diabetes only among obese people.
"This study emphasiz
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