A recent study shows that more than half of the U.S. adult population is affected by either type 2 diabetes or a form of prediabetes.
Three years ago, 14 percent of the U.S. population was diagnosed with diabetes, while 38 percent had prediabetes. And, these numbers are 27 percent higher than the statistics produced between 1988 and 1994.
The good news is that the rate of diabetes is now stalling and may soon decrease.
On the other hand, a joint research led by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and National Institutes of Health (NIH) shows that Asians and Latinos living in the U.S. are often undiagnosed. Fifty-one percent of U.S. Asians and 50 percent of Hispanics with diabetes currently don’t know that they have the disease.
U.S. Asians are the ethnic community with the highest rates of undiagnosed diabetes among other racial minority groups. About 20 percent of Asian Americans are currently diagnosed with diabetes or they may have the disease but don’t know it.
But the highest rate of diabetes was observed among the Hispanic American population – 23 percent, of which 49 percent were undiagnosed, CDC reported.
Andy Menke, a Maryland epidemiologist, said that scientists don’t have a clear understanding on why these two minority groups are so affected by diabetes. Past studies suspected that family history of the disease, lack of preventive health care, and diet may be the major contributing factors.
Moreover, Dr. Menke believes that the phenomenon may be also linked with obesity left untreated since in some cultures obese people are not perceived as unhealthy members of the community.
Dr. Menke believes that these problems may be solved if local authorities would focus on prevention and train people on the risks of obesity including diabetes.
Diabetes is one of the top causes of premature death in the U.S., the American Diabetes Association said. Plus, the illness costs $245 billion to be treated every year. Scientists were surprised to learn that diabetes no longer affects the middle aged or the elderly. The disease now affects people of every age, sex, social status, race, and education level.
But another piece of good news is that between 1994 and 2012 the rate of diabetes in the U.S. slipped 23 percent, and the research team believes that that may happen again if more public health policies and diabetes awareness campaigns are set in place.
Additionally, undiagnosed diabetes rates could also drop if people receive the proper training and an unhindered access to screening, the team said.
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