In the United States in 2018, 34.2 million Americans were reported to have diabetes, yet one-in-five were unaware they had it, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Another 88 million adults are prediabetic, but the CDC reports that over 84% of those people do not know it.
Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in American adults. Within the last 20 years, the number of adults who have been diagnosed with diabetes has doubled. November is Diabetes Awareness Month, a time to call attention to diabetes and bring awareness to those it impacts.
The WHA Information Center analyzed claims for diabetes visits for the years 2018-2020 and all places of service. The count of visits broken down by year and quarter trended the same until the second quarter of 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown occurred.
Males had a higher visit count compared to females, with about 54% male visits to 46% female visits. The ZIP code that saw the highest visit counts for diabetes was in Milwaukee County. The sum of total charges for diabetes visits averaged over $6 billion each year since 2018. Nationally, the average age for the onset of Type 2 diabetes is 45 years old. Patients identified as White accounted for 83% of diabetes visits, while Black or African American patients accounted for 12% of visits.
The medical costs and wages lost due to diabetes combined for a total $327 billion each year. The CDC finds that those who are diagnosed with diabetes have medical costs twice as much as those without diabetes. People who have diabetes are at a higher risk of serious health problems like blindness, kidney failure, heart disease, stroke and loss of toes, feet or legs. Risk factors for Type 2 diabetes include being overweight, being 45 years or older, having a family history and being physically inactive.
Diabetes prevention tips to lower risk of getting Type 2 diabetes from the CDC include the following:
- If you are prediabetic and are overweight, lose a small amount of weight and get regular physical activity;
- Discover ways to manage stress and stay motivated;
- Eat healthy and sustain a healthy diet; and
- Add more physical exercise into your daily routine.