CDC: 1 in 3 Americans Could Have Diabetes by 2050

BY Bridget DeSimone  October 22, 2010 at 5:15 PM EDT

As many as 1 in 3 American adults could have diabetes by the year 2050, according to a new analysis released Friday by the Centers for Disease Control. That would be sharp rise from one in 10 adults now currently living with the disease.

About 23.6 million people in the United States have diabetes and as many as one-quarter of them do not even know it they have it said Ann Albright, PhD., RD, director of the CDC’s Division of Diabetes Translation. Another 57 million Americans are headed for the condition — or considered pre-diabetic.

Albright said CDC researchers used a variety of data sources including obesity trends and new U.S. census figures in the study, which was published in the journal Population Health Metrics. According to the study’s projections, the prevalence of diabetes is expected to spike over the next 40 years because Americans are living longer, and with age comes an increased risk of the disease. And the U.S. population is increasingly made up of ethnic minorities — among them African Americans and Hispanics — who at a higher risk for diabetes.

Diabetes was the seventh leading cause of death in 2007. And according to the CDC, it’s the leading cause of new cases of blindness among adults under age 75, of kidney failure, and non-injury leg and foot amputations among adults.

The good news: “People with diabetes are living longer after they’re diagnosed,” said Dr. M. Sue Kirkman, Senior Vice President of Medical Affairs and Community Information at the American Diabetes Association.

Diabetes was the seventh leading cause of death in 2007. And according to the CDC, it’s the leading cause of new cases of blindness among adults under age 75, of kidney failure, and non-injury leg and foot amputations among adults.

And treating diabetes is costly. An estimated $174 billion is spent annually to care for patient with the disease. That’s including $116 billion in direct medical costs.

The CDC’s Albright says proper diet and physical activity can reduce the risk of diabetes, and help to control the condition in people with diabetes.

The American Diabetes Association recommends all Americans find out whether they are at risk for diabetes and get tested if they have a family history, are overweight or obese, a member of a high risk ethnic group, or over 45 years of age.