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Almost everyone knows someone who has diabetes. An estimated 18.2 million people in the United States (6.3 percent of the population) have diabetes -- a serious, lifelong condition. Of those, 13 million have been diagnosed and about 5.2 million people have not yet been diagnosed. Each year, about 1.3 million people age 20 or older are diagnosed with diabetes.
Diabetes is widely recognized as one of the leading causes of death and disability in the United States. In 2000, it was the sixth leading cause of death. However, it is likely to be underreported as the underlying cause of death on death certificates. About 65 percent of deaths among those with diabetes are attributed to heart disease and stroke.
The condition is not contagious. People cannot "catch" it from each other; however, certain factors can increase the risk of developing diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes occurs equally among males and females, but is more common in whites than in nonwhites. Data from the World Health Organization's Multinational Project for Childhood Diabetes indicates that type 1 diabetes is rare in most African, American Indian, and Asian populations. However, some northern European countries, including Finland and Sweden, have high rates of type 1 diabetes. The reasons for these differences are unknown.
Type 2 diabetes is more common in older people, especially in people who are overweight, and occurs more often in:
- African Americans
- American Indians
- Some Asian Americans
- Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islander Americans
- Hispanic Americans.
In 2002, the condition cost the United States $132 billion. Indirect costs, including disability payments, time lost from work, and premature death, totaled $40 billion. Direct medical costs for diabetes care, including hospitalizations, medical care, and treatment supplies, totaled $92 billion.
(Click Diabetes Statistics for more statistics on this condition.)