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Half of all US adults have type 2 diabetes or prediabetes, study finds

Half of all US adults have either type 2 diabetes or prediabetes, according to new research.
The study, conducted by the US National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, found that most of those with prediabetes are not aware of it.
“Diabetes can be treated, but only if it is diagnosed,” Catherine Cowie, a program director at the institute, told US News. “The medical community needs to be aware that there is a high rate of undiagnosed diabetes in the population.”
The organisation used data from the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys to estimate the proportion of the American population with diabetes. According to their analysis, 14 per cent of adults have type 2 diabetes. Around 35 per cent of them don’t know they have it.
The study also identified the impact of race on the risk of diabetes. Black people, Hispanic people, and Asian people are all twice as likely to develop type 2 diabetes than white people.
It is worth noting that 38 per cent of people are noted as having “prediabetes,” which is a complex, flawed label. Although a useful way to encourage people to make lifestyle changes, it has been argued that labelling people as prediabetic does not reduce the likelihood that they will develop type 2 diabetes. The thresholds for prediabetes are always the samen, and do not take into account things like aging, which naturally increases one’s blood glucose levels.
Moreover, prediabetes is expensive. Many people, having been diagnosed with prediabetes, will be put on diabetes medication such as metformin to lower their blood glucose levels. Critics argue that this is a waste of money, as many of these people will not go on to develop type 2 diabetes anyway.
The institute’s findings paint a bleak picture of diabetes, but there is good news: levels of diabetes have levelled off somewhat since 2008, suggesting that, in terms of prevention, something is being done right. However, it is a small improvement for a large problem; the trend of increasing rates of diabetes, although not rising as rapidly as before, show no signs of reversing.
The findings were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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