Alarming Data Shows Half of U.S. Adults Have Diabetes, or Pre-Diabetes

Diabetes has been growing at epidemic proportions now for decades, but a recent study found the problem may be even more serious than we thought. According to the study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, half the country either has diabetes, or is at serious risk for it.

The Study

According to the research, 38 percent of adults in America had pre-diabetes in 2011 to 2012, and 12 percent had diabetes. More than a third of people with diabetes were unaware that they had the condition.

The study shows that older adults and minorities were most at risk. "The large proportion of people with undiagnosed diabetes points to both a greater need to test for type 2 diabetes and a need for more education on when to test for type 2 diabetes," said Catherine Cowie, study co-author.

Cowie is the director of diabetes epidemiology programs at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

How it Helps

Even with the disturbing results, study authors say it's good to know the numbers. Director of NIDDK Dr. Griffin P. Rodgers, study co-author, says that prevention efforts can better be targeted when health care providers and researchers know who may have undiagnosed diabetes.

“We have treatments to help people with diabetes, but treatments can only help those who have been diagnosed. I hope our research can serve as a reminder for people at risk for diabetes to get screened for this potentially devastating disease,” Dr. Rodgers says.

Photo: Misspartacus