According to an eye-opening study published this month in The Journal of the American Medical Association, roughly half of all adults in the United States had diabetes or prediabetes in 2011 and 2012, most of whom were at or over the age of 65. Further, more than a third of people with diabetes were undiagnosed.
Findings were based on data compiled from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) from 1988-1994 and 1999-2012. According to the study authors, the increase in diabetes cases parallels the growing obesity problem in America over the last few decades and spotlights the need for improvements in diabetes education.
By helping people recognize and understand the symptoms and health risks of diabetes, experts hope to more effectively target those in need of help as well as improve treatment and prevention efforts. Because diabetes is so closely linked to diet and lifestyle, among the most important recommendations are following a healthy diet and getting plenty of exercise.
Diabetes is the name given to a group of metabolic disorders characterized by chronic high blood sugar (glucose) levels and resulting from abnormal insulin production in the body. People with diabetes have a higher risk of heart disease and stroke, nerve damage, impaired vision, kidney problems, hearing loss, skin problems, and even Alzheimer’s disease. Each year more than 70,000 Americans die because of complications associated with diabetes.