New estimates project that 53.1 million Americans or 14.9 percent of the US population may have diabetes by 2025, according to The Diabetes 2025 Model generated by the Institute for Alternative Futures and published in the journal Population Health Management.
This projection reflects a 64 percent increase from 2010 to 2025 in the number of Americans living with diabetes. It underscores a continuous and dramatic increase in the diabetes epidemic in the US.
The resulting annual medical and societal costs will increase 72 percent to $514 billion, according to the paper.
The researchers write, “Diabetes is a serious health issue in America, with every indication of a dramatic increase in prevalence, complications, and financial burden on society over the next 15 years. Reversing this 'epidemic' will require major lifestyle changes and remaking our health care delivery system into one focused on proactive prevention and continuous access to coordinated, evidence-based management of chronic diseases.”
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Some 14 million of the 53 million projected to have diabetes will be undiagnosed cases.
The report also projects that more than 91 million Americans will have prediabetes in 2025. That's up from 79 million in 2010 as estimated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
People with prediabetes have higher than normal blood sugar levels that are not yet high enough to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes. Without intervention, prediabetes is likely to become type 2 diabetes in ten years or less, according to Mayo Clinic.
People with prediabetes may also experience the start of long-term damage that is characteristic of diabetes, especially in the heart and circulatory system.
“Diabetes is now a national security issue as it threatens all aspects of our nation's well-being,” said David B. Nash, MD, dean of the Jefferson School of Population Health and editor in chief of Population Health Management.
Healthy lifestyle choices
Healthy lifestyle choices can help treat or prevent prediabetes and type 2 diabetes, according to Mayo Clinic.
It recommends eating healthy foods low in fat and calories, with emphasis on fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
Moderate physical activity 30 minutes a day is also recommended. Examples include a brisk walk, bike ride, or lap swimming.
Finally, losing 5 to 10 percent of excess body weight for overweight people can improve blood sugar control and reduce the risk of diabetes, according to Mayo Clinic.
Source: Population Health Management, Mayo Clinic