Thursday, April 14, 2016

About Half Of American Adults Had Undiagnosed Diabetes!

Globally, according to WHO (World Health Organization), about 1 in 9 adults has diagnosed diabetes, which will be the 7th leading cause of death by 2030. Most of these people have Type-2 diabetes, a condition in which the body cannot properly use or create sufficient amount of hormone insulin to convert blood sugar into energy. Diabetes can raise the risk of heart disease and stroke and if left untreated, it can cause complications like nerve damage, amputations, kidney failure and blindness.

Diabetes is a major cause of death in the United States. A study conducted by researchers from Social & Scientific Systems Inc, Silver Spring and other institutions revealed that about half of American adults have either diabetes (more than 12 percent) or prediabetes (38 percent), and more than a third of the people with diabetes are unaware of their condition. The study was published in the September 8’s issue of the ‘Journal of the American Medical Association’.

After analyzing information from 216,415 American adults who took part in surveys between 1988 and 2012, the researchers reported that the percentage of people with diabetes increased from less than 10 percent in the 1988-1994 period, to more than 12 percent in 2011-2012. The rise was in line with the rise of obesity.

It was also found that diabetes was the most common among older adults: about 1 in 3 adults age 65 and above had the condition in 2011-2012, compared to 17 percent of adults age between 45 and 64, and 5 percent of adults younger than 45. About one-third of whites with diabetes (32 percent) were not aware of the condition, compared to 37 percent of blacks, 49 percent of Hispanics and 51 percent of Asian Americans.

One reason for the high percentage of undiagnosed diabetes among Asian Americans may be that they often develop Type-2 diabetes at a lower BMI (body mass index) than people of other ethnic groups. As such, the doctors may not screen Asian Americans for diabetes when they could be at risk for the disease.

Such findings would certainly lead to a greater need for testing Type-2 diabetes and a need for more education on when to test for the condition.  The researchers hope that future studies could provide more information about which subgroups of people are at highest risk for underdiagnoses.

The average blood sugar levels over the course of several months can be estimated by measuring changes to the hemoglobin molecule in red blood cells. The hemoglobin A1c test measures the percentage of hemoglobin (the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen) that is coated with sugar. A reading of 6.5 percent or above would signal diabetes. People with A1c levels between 5.7 percent and 6.4 percent is said to have pre-diabetes, a risk factor for going on to develop full-blown diabetes.

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