The percentage of Americans with diabetes has almost doubled since 1988, new research shows. Now a staggering 21 million adults in the U.S. have been diagnosed with the blood glucose disease, which has a potent ability to affect their oral health.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the rate of diagnosed and undiagnosed diabetes was 5.5 percent. By 2010, that number jumped to 9.3 percent, according to the new report.
For the study, which was published in the April 15 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine, researchers used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. This included more than 43,000 adults followed from the first survey period (1988 to 1994) to the most recent (1999 to 2010). From 1988 to 1994, the rate of diagnosed diabetes was 5.5 percent. By the next survey in 1999 to 2004, that number had leapt to 7.6 percent. In the most recent survey, which looked at data from 2005 to 2010, the prevalence of diabetes rose to 9.3 percent.
“Diabetes has increased dramatically,” Dr. Elizabeth Selvin, associate professor of epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the study’s lead author, told HealthDay. “The rates have almost doubled since the late ’80s and early ’90s.”
Understanding diabetes Diabetes is a disorder that causes blood glucose (sugar) levels to rise higher than average. When you consume food and drinks, the body normally breaks down all of the sugars and starches into glucose, which is an essential fuel source for cells. However, for the 21 million Americans with the disease, the body has trouble regulating insulin, the hormone responsible for transferring the sugar from the blood to the cells as nourishment.
There are two main forms of diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes and usually develops during adulthood, while Type 1 typically occurs in children and young adults, affecting roughly 5 percent of people who have the disease.