Diabetes Facts & Figures 2020: A Summary of The Center for Disease Control Report on Diabetes in the USA

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Written by: Barb Kelly

March 24, 2022

The Center for Disease Control periodically produces reports about the status of Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes in the USA. This blog summarizes the main information contained within the CDC report. Read the full report

Prevalence of Pre-Diabetes (Adults)

Diabetes has one of the most quickly increasing incidence rates in US and throughout the world.

  • In 2018, 88 million adults in the US were in a pre-diabetic state.
  • More men than women had pre-diabetes.
  • The prevalence of pre-diabetes was the same across all ethnicities/races.
  • The prevalence of pre-diabetes was the same across all education levels (however, the actual incidence of a diagnosis is affected by education level – see the next section).

Adults

The following facts relate to data collected up to 2016:

  • 34.2 million people of all ages – or 10.5% of the US population – have diabetes
  • 13.0% of all US adults have diabetes. (34.1 million)
  • 2.8% of all US adults were unaware that they had diabetes (7.3 million of those tested)
  • Not surprisingly, the number of adults with diabetes increased with age – 26.8% of adults 65 or older had diabetes.
  • 90-95% of all individuals with diabetics have Type 2 Diabetes.

Black, non-Hispanics made up the largest group with diabetes (13.3%) while non-Hispanic Asians were the group with the highest level of undiagnosed diabetes (4.6% of those tested). Men were slightly higher than women for the incidence of diabetes (1.5% higher) as well as undiagnosed diabetes (0.6% higher). And, those over 65 made up the largest group with diabetes (21.4%) as well as undiagnosed diabetes (5.5%). The level of diabetes seems to increase significantly after the age of 45 while prior to that age only 3% of the population has diabetes and only 1.1% are undiagnosed.

The number of diagnosed cases of diabetes between 2002 and 2016 have increased significantly while the incidence of undiagnosed cases has remained much the same, which indicates that diabetes is indeed increasing in the US population.

More recent data, from 2017-2018 shows the following:

  • Native Americans had the highest rate of diagnosis, followed by Hispanics, non-Hispanic Blacks, non-Hispanic Asians, and non-Hispanic Whites. Among Hispanics, Mexicans had the highest incidence of diagnosis, followed by Puerto Ricans, Central/South Americans, and Cubans.
  • Amongst non-Hispanic Asians, Asian-Indians had the highest incidence of diagnosed diabetes, followed by Filipinos, other Asian groups, and Chinese, which was far below the other Asian groups.
  • Education does affect the prevalence of diabetes (Type 2) for those without completing high school at the highest risk of diagnosis while those with post-secondary studies were less likely than those who had completed high school to be diagnosed with diabetes.

Children

Among US children and adolescents aged less than 20 years, the diagnoses of both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes has increased.

  • Between 2002 and 2015, Type 1 diabetes increased significantly.
  • Between 2002 and 2010, Hispanic children/youth had the largest increase in Type 1 diabetes.
  • Between 2011 and 2015, non-Hispanic Asian and Pacific Islander children/youth had the largest increase in Type 1 diabetes.
  • Between 2002 and 2015, the incidence of US children being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes increased significantly.
  • Between 2002-2010 and 2011-2015, the incidence of children being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes increased across all ethnic groups, the highest being non-Hispanic blacks.

The increase of both types of diabetes for children is particularly disturbing. Researchers attribute the increase to a combination of genes and our environment.[1] This explanation, however, fails to recognize the many studies that have shown that serious trauma and stress often precedes Type 1 Diabetes onset in children.[2]

Co-existing Conditions and Complications

The Report lists the following co-existing conditions and complications. People may find none, one, or several of these exist at the same time as diabetes:

  • Increased visits for Emergency Departments at hospital.
  • Increased hospital stays, due to
    • Cardio-vascular disease
    • Amputations
    • Hyperglycemic incidences
    • Hypoglycemic incidences
  • Kidney Disease.
  • Vision Disability.
  • Death (7th leading cause of death).
  • Costs.

Risk Factors for Diabetes Complications

The following factors increase a diabetics risk of developing complications:

  • Smoking.
  • Obesity and being overweight.
  • Physical Inactivity
  • Hemoglobin A1C results over 7%
  • High blood pressure
  • High Cholesterol

Summary (by blog author)

Not surprisingly, this report confirms all the things that we have been told through media reports for several years: The incidence of Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes is increasing. Type 2 is rising at an alarmingly rate yet the public’s understanding of risk factors for diabetes seems to remain poor. Education can help people understand more – a public education program for those in lower education classes would be useful since the incidence of diabetes decreases as education levels increase. Another education program that would be useful is one for both family physicians and endocrinologists, many of whom continue to discount the inclusion serious trauma and/or stress as a contributing factor to diagnosis despite the rising reports by patients of these preceding diagnosis. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) as well as Diabetes Canada (DC) and other organizations supporting diabetes patients have much work to do in educating the general public and medical professionals about the disease.


[1] Doheney, K. (December 17, 2014). Type 1 Diabetes On The Rise in Children. Retrieved on March 30, 2020 from https://www.webmd.com/diabetes/news/20141217/type-1-diabetes-rising-children#1

[2] Mead, V. (November 17, 2017). Stress, Trauma & Type 1 Diabetes: Top Reasons Links Are Dismissed. Retrieved on March 31, 2020 from https://chronicillnesstraumastudies.com/stress-trauma-type-1-diabetes/

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