Thirty-five percent of adults have prediabetes

More than one-third (35 percent) of adults ages 20 and older have prediabetes, according to new estimates released yesterday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). That's an estimated 79 million with a condition where blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not so high they can be diagnosed with diabetes. Prediabetes predisposes a person to get type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

Close to 26 million American have diabetes, which affects about 8.3 percent of Americans of all ages. Of those, more than one-quarter (27 percent) don't know they have the disease.

The 2011 estimates are higher than in the past, in part because more people are developing diabetes and many are living longer with the disease.

Medical expenses for people with diabetes are more than two times higher than for people without diabetes, according to the CDC. That's because people with diabetes are more likely to suffer complications such as heart attacks, strokes, high blood pressure, kidney failure, blindness and amputation of feet and legs. In fact, one in every five hospitalizations is related to diabetes, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Diabetes costs $174 billion annually. Of that, $116 billion consists of direct medical expenses.

To learn more:
- read the CDC press release
- here's a 12-page fact sheet on diabetes
- read the HealthDay News story

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