What is Diabetes?

Defining Diabetes


Diabetes is a serious medical condition where blood glucose (blood sugar) levels are abnormally high. Diabetes happens when the body cannot efficiently use or produce its own insulin. Insulin is a hormone that is made by the pancreas to control blood glucose levels. When blood glucose levels are high for long periods of time, the risk of developing other health complications increase. Health complications can include:


  • Heart disease

  • Kidney damage

  • Eye damage

  • Nerve damage (loss of feeling in toes and fingers)

  • Skin conditions

Diabetes is a broad term that is used to simplify this condition, however, there are several types of diabetes. Type-1 and Type-2 diabetes are the most common types, yet there are 10 other kinds of diabetes. Gestational, Juvenile, Latent autoimmune diabetes in adults (LADA), Maturity Onset Diabetes of the Young (MODY), Brittle, Double Diabetes, Type 3, Steroid Induced, Secondary and Diabetes Insipidus.



Diabetes by the numbers


Roughly 34.2 million people of the U.S. population (10.5%) have diabetes. Out of that number, approximately 1.4 million have type-1 diabetes and the remaining 32.8 million have one of the other eleven kinds of diabetes. Type-2 diabetes is the most common and is the most talked-about across the U.S.

The number of people having diabetes continues to increase every year. Approximately 40,000 people are diagnosed as type-1 and 1.4 million as diagnosed as type-2. It is projected that by 2030, the diagnosis of diabetes could increase by 54%.

The bar chart shows the prevalence of diabetes amongst race/ethnicities. Prevalence of diagnosed diabetes was highest among American Indians/Alaska Natives (14.7%), people of Hispanic origin (12.5%), and non-Hispanic blacks (11.7%), followed by non-Hispanic Asians (9.2%) and non-Hispanic whites (7.5%).

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