CDC Report Says More Than 29 Million Americans Have Diabetes

Carla Rabassa, M.D.
Internal Medicine, FIU Health

Diabetes Test It is not exactly a surprise, but still sobering news: the number of Americans with diabetes continues to rise.  Twenty-nine million adults in this country now have diabetes, and a whopping 86 million have pre-diabetes, according to the latest figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Do you have diabetes and don’t know it?

But perhaps the most alarming statistic from the CDC’s latest National Diabetes Statistics Report is this: an estimated 8.1 million Americans have diabetes and don’t know it!

This is worrisome to me as a physician because diabetes is a serious chronic disease, and early detection and management are key in avoiding serious health complications including heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, blindness, lower-extremity amputations and premature death.

The risk of heart disease, the most common complication of diabetes, is more serious among women than men. African Americans, Hispanic/Latino Americans, are at particularly high risk for type 2 diabetes.

What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a disease in which blood glucose levels are above normal due to problems in how the body uses or produces a hormone called insulin. The pancreas, an organ near the stomach, makes insulin to help glucose get into the cells in our bodies. Cells use glucose as energy.  When this process doesn’t work right; when your body does not produce enough insulin or the insulin doesn’t do what it should, blood glucose levels rise and can cause diabetes or prediabetes.

What is prediabetes?

When you have prediabetes, your blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be classified as diabetes. Not everyone with prediabetes progresses to diabetes, but you are at higher risk. The good
news is studies have shown success in preventing diabetes through healthy eating, weight loss and exercise.

What are the common symptoms of diabetes?

  • Frequent urination
  • Excessive thirst
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Extreme hunger
  • Sudden vision changes
  • Tingling or numbness in hands or feet
  • Feeling very tired much of the time
  • Very dry skin
  • Sores that are slow to heal
  • More infections than usual

You may have some or none of these symptoms, but if you think you have diabetes, you must see your physician for diagnosis and treatment. To make an appointment call 305-FIU-DOCS.

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