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10217 19th Avenue Southeast
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Diabetes Fact Sheet

Diabetes Fact Sheet

The Dangerous Toll of Diabetes

Today, 16 million Americans have diabetes. Unfortunately, more than half are not aware that they have the disease. Every 60 seconds at least one person is diagnosed with diabetes. About 625,000 people will be diagnosed this year.

Diabetes is the Fourth-leading Cause of Death by Disease in the United States

This year, more than 169,000 Americans will die from the disease and its related complications.

Diabetes is a Chronic Disease 

Which has no cure.

Diabetes is a Silent Killer

Many people first become aware that they have diabetes when they develop one of its life-threatening complications. Take the Diabetes Risk Test to determine if you are at risk.


Diabetes is the leading cause of new cases of blindness in people ages 25-74. Each year, up to 24,000 people lose their sight because of diabetes.

Kidney Disease

Ten percent of all people with diabetes develop kidney disease. In 1992, nearly 20,000 people initiated treatment for end stage renal disease (kidney failure) because of diabetes.


Diabetes is the most frequent cause of non-traumatic lower limb amputations. Each year, 54,000 people lose a foot or leg to diabetes.

Heart Disease and Stroke

People with diabetes are 2 to 4 times more likely to have heart disease (more than 77,000 deaths due to heart disease annually). And they are nearly 3 times more likely to suffer a stroke.

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a disease in which the body does not produce or properly use insulin, a hormone that is needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy needed for daily life. The cause of diabetes is a mystery, although both genetics and environment appear to play roles.

There are two major types of diabetes:

Insulin-Dependent (type I). An autoimmune disease in which the body does not produce any insulin, it most often occurs in children and young adults. People with type I diabetes must take daily insulin injections to stay alive. Click here for a pdf of the National Institues of Health Fact Sheet on Type I Diabetes.Non-lnsulin-Dependent (type II). A metabolic disorder resulting from the body's inability to make enough or properly use insulin, it is the most common form of the disease. [Many non-insulin-dependent diabetics are also treated with insulin.]

Who is Most at Risk?

  • People who are overweight
  • People who don't exercise regularly
  • People with a family history of diabetes
  • People who are 40 and older
  • Women who have once had a baby weighing more than nine pounds at birth

In addition, your risk increases if you are a member of one of the following ethnic groups:

  • African American
  • Hispanic
  • Native American
  • About 10% of African American and Hispanic adults and up to 50% of Native American adults diabetes.

Warning Signs of Diabetes

Type I Diabetes:

  • Frequent urination
  • Unusual thirst
  • Extreme hunger
  • Unusual weight loss
  • Extreme fatigue Irritability

Type II Diabetes:

  • Any of the type I symptoms
  • Frequent infections
  • Blurred vision
  • Cuts/bruises that are slow to heal
  • Tingling/numbness in the hands or feet

Direct and Indirect Costs of Diabetes

Diabetes is a major health problem. Health care and related costs for treatment,as well as the cost of lost productivity, run nearly $92 billion annually.

The American Diabetes Association

The American Diabetes Association is the nation's leading voluntary health organization concerned with diabetes and its complications. We are working to prevent and cure diabetes; provide information to patients, health professionals and the general public; and lead advocacy efforts on behalf of people affected by diabetes. Founded in 1940, the Association has an affiliate office in every state and services in more than 800 communities across the country. For information on programs and resources available in your area, contact the American Diabetes Association at 1-800-DIABETES (1-800-342-2383).

[The preceding was furnished by the American Diabetes Association with permission to reprint.]