Even if you know one or two others who have diabetes, you may be surprised to learn just how common it is:

  • In the United States alone, about 20 million people have diabetes. More than 6 million of the people who have it (nearly one third!) don't yet know that they have it.
  • Between 90-95% of these cases are type 2 diabetes.
  • When considering people of all ages, more than 1 in 15 people in the U.S. have diabetes. For those over age 20, the incidence falls to about 1 in 10; for those over age 60, it is more than 1 in 5. And diabetes continues to get more common in every age group.
  • Since 1988, the average age of diagnosis of type 2 diabetes has dropped from 52 years to 46 years. The disease is becoming alarmingly more common in children and young adults.
  • Men and women have an equal chance of getting diabetes.

Risk factors increase the likelihood that you will get diabetes. Some risk factors are under your control and some are not.

Here are risk factors that you CAN'T change:

  • Your age.
  • The genes that you inherited.
  • Your family history.
  • Gestational diabetes that you may have had in the past.

The good news, however, is that there are risk factors you CAN change. In fact, you may even be able to prevent type 2 diabetes altogether by doing the following:

  • Eat healthy amounts of healthy foods.
  • Maintain a healthy weight and a low body mass index (BMI).
  • Exercise and stay physically active.
  • Reduce body fat, especially around your waistline.
  • Increase your dietary fiber intake.

If you already have diabetes, these same steps can help you control it, as you will learn later in this guide.

 

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Review Date: 5/1/2006

Reviewed By: Alan Greene, M.D., F.A.A.P., Department of Pediatrics, Packard Children's Hospital, Stanford University School of Medicine; Chief Medical Officer, A.D.A.M., Inc.


The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

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