More than a third of American adults are now living with prediabetes – with the majority unaware they have the condition – according to a new government report that can offer fresh motivation for millions to not only lower their risk of developing diabetes, but also of cancer.
Along with a host of serious complications, having type 2 diabetes increases the risk of many cancers. Adults with diabetes have about twice the risk of developing cancers of the liver, pancreas and endometrium. There’s a clear but smaller increase in risk for colon and post-menopausal breast cancers.
The two diseases – diabetes and cancer – share several key risk factors, including obesity and lack of physical activity.
The CDC report finds that as of 2015, close to 10 percent – 30.3 million Americans –have diabetes. That rate of new diabetes diagnoses remains steady in recent years. Another 84 million adults have prediabetes, a condition that can lead to type 2 diabetes. While the report did not differentiate between the two major types of the disease, type 2 diabetes accounts for about 95% of all diabetes cases.
The report gathered estimated prediabetes incidence using the latest available data from The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES).
Key findings from the CDC’s National Diabetes Statistics Report include:
- In 2015, an estimated 1.5 million new cases of diabetes were diagnosed among people ages 18 and older.
- Nearly 1 in 4 four adults living with diabetes – 7.2 million Americans – didn’t know they had the condition. Only 11.6 percent of adults with prediabetes knew they had it.
- Rates of diagnosed diabetes increased with age. Among those ages 18-44, 4 percent had diabetes. Among those ages 65 years and older, 25 percent had diabetes.
- Rates of diagnosed diabetes were close to double for non-Hispanic blacks (almost 13 percent) compared to non-Hispanic whites (7 percent).
- More men (36.6 percent) had prediabetes than women (29.3 percent). Rates were similar among women and men across racial/ethnic groups or educational levels.
- The southern and Appalachian areas of the United States had the highest rates of diagnosed diabetes and of new diabetes cases.
Want to know if you are at risk for diabetes? The CDC and its partners offer a short online test at DoIHavePrediabetes.org.