Learn More about Diabetes

By Mark Wahl, MS, RN, Faculty Program Director

Nearly 30 million children and adults in this country are diagnosed with diabetes

Diabetes often goes undiagnosed because many of its symptoms may seem harmless.

Type 1 Diabetes – Results from the body’s failure to produce insulin, the hormone that “unlocks” the cells of the body, allowing glucose to enter and fuel them. It is estimated that 5-10% of Americans who are diagnosed with diabetes have type 1 diabetes.

image of Type 2 diabetes
An illustration of Type 2 diabetes, a disease characterized by insulin resistance.

Type 2 Diabetes

Usually results from insulin resistance (a condition in which the body fails to properly use insulin), combined with relative insulin deficiency. Type 2 diabetes accounts for about 90-95% of all diagnosed cases of diabetes.

Symptoms of Diabetes

Some diabetes symptoms include: frequent urination, excessive thirst, extreme hunger, unusual weight loss, increased fatigue, irritability and blurry vision. If you have one or more of these diabetes symptoms, see your doctor right away.

Diabetes can lead to very serious complications

Increased risk of heart disease and stroke; Leading cause of kidney failure; Nervous system disease and non-traumatic lower-limb amputations

Diabetes statistics*:

  • 29.1 million: The estimated number of children and adults in the United States who have diabetes.
  • 86 million: The estimated number of Americans who have pre-diabetes.
  • 1.7 million: The number of new cases of diabetes diagnosed in people aged 20 years or older in 2012.
  • 1 in 3 children born in the year 2000 will develop diabetes in their lifetime if current trends continue. The ratio is even greater for minority children with 1 in 2 developing diabetes in their lifetime.
  • Based on recently announced diagnostic criteria for gestational diabetes, it is estimated that gestational diabetes affects 18 percent of pregnancies.
  • Prior studies have shown women who have had gestational diabetes are at risk (of up to 60 percent) for developing diabetes in the next 10 to 20 years.

*Statistics released by the CDC in January 2014

Do you have diabetes?

For more information about diabetes, please visit www.diabetes.org or call 1-800-DIABETES. – See more at: http://tour.diabetes.org/site/PageServer?pagename=TC_aboutdiabetes#sthash.qHHyc1MA.dpuf


American Diabetes Association (n.d.). About diabetes: what should you know about diabetes? Retrieved from http://tour.diabetes.org/site/PageServer?pagename=TC_aboutdiabetes


Photo credit: Jim Dowdalls / Photo Researchers / Universal Images Group