These diabetes facts and statistics show what a serious health threat diabetes–and particularly type 2 diabetes–is in the United States. Dr. Tina Marcantel is a naturopathic doctor in Gilbert, Arizona, who also serves the East Valley cities of Mesa, Chandler, Tempe, Scottsdale, Glendale, Queen Creek, Apache Junction, and the greater Phoenix area.

Diabetes affects an estimated 18 million people in the United States–13 million have been diagnosed, but 5.2 million are unaware they have the disease.

Type 2 diabetes accounts for about 90-95% of all diagnosed cases of diabetes.

88-97% of all cases of type 2 diabetes are attributable to obesity. Children are now developing type 2 diabetes at an alarming rate.

According to the most recent statistics, diabetes was the sixth leading cause of death, and the fifth leading cause of death from disease. Diabetes costs $90 billion annually in direct medical costs. Diabetes costs $40 billion annually in indirect costs (loss of work, disability, loss of life).

Heart disease and stroke account for about 65% of deaths in people with diabetes.

Adults with diabetes have heart disease death rates about 2 to 4 times higher than adults without diabetes.

The risk for stroke is 2 to 4 times higher among people with diabetes.

Diabetes is the leading cause of new cases of blindness among adults aged 20 to 74 years.

About 60-70% of people with diabetes have mild to severe forms of nervous system damage. The results of such damage include impaired sensation or pain in the feet or hands, slowed digestion of food in the stomach, carpal tunnel syndrome, and other nerve problems.

Almost 30% of people with diabetes aged 40 years or older have impaired sensation in the feet (i.e., at least one area that lacks feeling).

More than 60% of nontraumatic lower-limb amputations occur among people with diabetes.

Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure, accounting for 44% of new cases in 2002.

Almost one-third of people with diabetes have severe periodontal diseases with loss of attachment of the gums to the teeth measuring 5 millimeters or more.

People with diabetes are more susceptible to many other illnesses and, once they acquire these illnesses, often have worse prognoses. For example, they are more likely to die with pneumonia or influenza that people who do not have diabetes.

Up to 80% of type 2 diabetes is preventable by adopting a healthy diet and increasing physical activity.

Source for diabetes facts:

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

See our Health Videos/Articles Index page for a complete listing of videos and articles on