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Diabetes

The number of Americans with diabetes mellitus, a condition defined by abnormally high levels of glucose (a natural sugar) in the blood, has grown dramatically in recent decades. In 1980, fewer than six million Americans were living with diagnosed diabetes. By 2015, that number had climbed to more than 23 million, and each year there are almost 1.5 million new cases of diabetes diagnosed. Also alarming is the statistic that about eight million people with diabetes do not know they have the disease.

Diabetes impacts some groups more than others. For instance, 25 percent of adults age 65 or older have diabetes. The prevalence rates are even higher among Hispanic/Latino Americans and African Americans. Besides those diagnosed with diabetes, more than 85 million other Americans have prediabetes, or evidence of problems controlling glucose levels that increases their risk of developing diabetes and other serious health problems, including heart disease and stroke.

Type 1 diabetes, also known as insulin dependent diabetes or juvenile diabetes, accounts for five percent of all diagnosed cases of diabetes in US adults. While type 1 diabetes can occur at any age, it is most likely to occur in persons under 20 years of age. There is no known way to prevent type 1 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is more common and is also known as adult-onset diabetes, as it is generally found in persons 40 years of age or older. Weight is a significant risk factor for type 2 diabetes, with overweight and obese adults at higher risk to develop this disorder. 

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