December 2010 Clinical Laboratory News: News Brief

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December 2010: Volume 36, Number 12

Diabetes Prevalence Could Double or Triple by 2050

A new report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that one third of U.S. adults could develop diabetes by 2050. Currently, nearly 24 million Americans are living with diabetes, but nearly one-quarter are not aware they have the disease.

The report projects that the number of new diabetes cases will increase every year, from 8 per 1,000 people in 2008, to 15 per 1,000 in 2050. The report estimates that the number of Americans with diabetes will range from 1 in 3 to 1 in 5 by 2050.

CDC attributes the increase to an aging population that is more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, increases in minority groups at high risk for type 2 diabetes, and people with the disease living longer.

The report also emphasizes the economic burden associated with the disease. Individuals diagnosed with diabetes have medical costs more than double those in people without the disease. The report puts the total cost of diabetes, including direct medical expenses, at an estimated $174 billion annually.

In 2007, diabetes was the seventh leading cause of death. The disease is also the leading cause of new cases of blindness among adults under age 75, kidney failure, and non-accident/injury leg and foot amputations among adults.

Diabetes prevalence is also projected to grow internationally. The International Diabetes Federation reports that an estimated 285 million people worldwide had diabetes in 2010. By 2030, the Federation forecasts that as many as 438 million will develop the disease.

The full CDC report is available at online.

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