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Diabetes widespread in US adults; One-third unaware they have it

Written by: Staff
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Washington, July 5 (UNI) The prevalence of diabetes in US adults continues to rise and despite efforts to raise awareness of the problem, about a third of adults with diabetes still don't know they have it, researchers have found in a new analysis of national survey data.

Diabetes is a group of diseases marked by high levels of glucose in the blood. Persistent high levels can lead to blindness, kidney failure, amputations, heart disease and stroke.

Researchers at the US National Institute of Health (NIH) and the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) analysed data from a national sample of US adults 20 years old and above who took part in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

Participants were interviewed in their homes and given a physical exam with a blood test, including a glucose reading taken after an overnight fast.

The researchers found that the prevalence of diagnosed diabetes in US adults rose from about 5.1 per cent in the years 1988-1994 to 6.5 per cent in 1999-2002. About 2.8 per cent of US adults, a third of those who have diabetes, don't even know they have it.

The study also found that about a quarter of US adults have impaired fasting glucose, a form of pre-diabetes. People with pre-diabetes have an increased risk for developing type-2 diabetes, the most common form of diabetes, and for heart disease and stroke.

Knowing whether you have pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes is an important step. If you have pre-diabetes, you may be able to prevent or delay type 2 diabetes by cutting calories and increasing your physical activity to lose a modest amount of weight. A major study of people with pre-diabetes showed that lifestyle changes leading to a 5-7 per cent weight loss lowered diabetes onset by 58 per cent.

''If you have diabetes, controlling your blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol will prevent or delay the complications of diabetes. Be sure to talk to your health care professional about your risk,'' advises the NIH on its website.

Pre-diabetes: A condition in which your blood glucose level is higher than normal but not high enough for the diagnosis of diabetes.

It puts you at increased risk for developing type-2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

Type-2 Diabetes Formerly called adult-onset diabetes, this is the most common form of diabetes. People can develop it at any age. Being overweight and inactive increase the chances of developing type-2 diabetes.

UNI XC SHR RAI0918

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