Diabetes in the United States
Over the past decade, there have been many changes in the world of diabetes. The number of individuals who have this serious disease is growing so rapidly that it is now considered an epidemic. Diabetes now affects nearly 21 million Americans – or 8.6 percent of the U.S. population – and more than 6 million of those people do not know they have diabetes, according to the latest data released by the CDC. Another 41 million people are estimated to have pre-diabetes, a condition that increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes – the most common form of the disease – as well as heart disease and stroke.
Over the past decade, the number of Americans who have been diagnosed with diabetes has increased by 61% and that number is expected to more than double by 2050. Added to this alarming picture is the recent report by the CDC that 1of 3 children born in the year 2000 will be diagnosed with diabetes during their lifetime.
Diabetes in West Virginia
Based on data from the CDC, as of 2007 there were 156,000 people in West Virginia (10.8% of our adult population) who had been told they have diabetes. It is estimated that an additional 78,000 West Virginians have diabetes but are unaware of it. This ranks West Virginia 2nd out if 54 states and territories. West Virginia ranks 3rd in obesity, with 30.3% of our adult population considered obese, and 11th in physical inactivity. These lifestyle measures combined with the fact that West Virginia has the oldest median age in the nation lead to an expected continued rise in diabetes.
The Impact of Diabetes
Diabetes is a leading cause of adult blindness, lower-limb amputation, kidney disease, and nerve damage. Two-thirds of people with diabetes die from a heart attack or stroke.
The Good News
While these facts paint a bleak picture, there is good news. Recent studies have shown that with proper diet and exercise, type 2 diabetes can be delayed, controlled, or even prevented. These findings further the belief held by West Virginia University Extension Service and our partners that the Dining with Diabetes program is indeed a positive and proactive approach in reducing the effects of diabetes.