By David Beasley
ATLANTA (Reuters) – The number of American adults with diabetes has soared to 29 million with another 86 million at high risk of getting the chronic disease, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Tuesday.
The CDC report, based on data from 2012, illustrated a continued worrisome rise in diabetes, which can cause serious health complications including heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, blindness, amputation of toes, feet or legs, and premature death.
If the current trends continue, federal health officials predicted that one in five Americans could have diabetes by 2025 – and one in three by 2050. The CDC said more than 12 percent of U.S adults had diabetes as of 2012.
“We simply can’t sustain this trajectory,” said Ann Albright, director of the CDC’s Division of Diabetes Translation.
The report said that diabetes and its related complications accounted for $245 billion in total medical costs and lost work and wages in 2012.
The CDC said the 29 million with diabetes in 2012 marked an increase of 3 million since 2010.
Diabetes is a chronic disease characterized by high blood sugar levels and is closely linked to obesity. Many cases could be prevented by healthy eating, weight loss and moderate exercise, experts say.
“If we want to reduce the overall burden of diabetes in our nation, we have to focus on preventing diabetes in the first place,” said Edward Gregg, chief of the CDC’s Epidemiology and Statistics Branch, Division of Diabetes Translation.
One in four people with diabetes is unaware of their condition, according to the CDC. Early diagnosis is important and the disease is managed with insulin and other medications that can lower blood sugar levels and control blood pressure, experts say.
Hispanics, blacks and American Indians are twice as likely to be diagnosed with diabetes as non-Hispanic white adults, the CDC said.
(Editing by Letitia Stein and Will Dunham)