(Washington D.C., Friday, November 9, 2018) – One in 10 Americans lives with type 2 diabetes, and an estimated 1.5 million more are diagnosed each year. Among many communities, diabetes is downplayed as “having a little sugar” and, with long family histories with the disease, dismissed as an inevitability. More than 25 percent of our seniors have diabetes, and minority populations are at the greatest risk of developing this disease. African Americans, for instance, have a 77 percent higher risk of developing diabetes compared to White Americans. Hispanic Americans have a 66 percent higher risk.
The disease is far more dangerous than most realize. Diabetes also greatly increases their chances of developing heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States. Patients with diabetes are up to four times more likely to die of heart disease than their non-diabetic peers, according to the American Heart Association. Far too often, many people who have had diabetes for years unfortunately learn for the first time of the risks of heart disease and stroke only after having an attack.
Educating doctors and patients about the connection between diabetes and heart disease and ways to protect heart health could save millions of lives and billions of dollars. Type 2 diabetes changes how the body processes glucose, a sugar found in foods. This results in chronically high levels of blood sugar, which can lead to a host of life-threatening health problems. In fact, diabetes is currently the sixth leading cause of death in the United States.
The combination of diabetes and cardiovascular disease is a major driver of healthcare spending in the United States. Diabetes alone costs our nation $245 billion a year in medical spending and lost productivity. Heart complications account for a quarter of the medical costs.