Diabetes: General Information

Names and Terminology for Diabetes

Common Name

  • Diabetes

Medical or Scientific Names

Source: NICHD (NIH)1

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Back to: « Diabetes

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The medical name for diabetes, diabetes mellitus, means "sweet urine."

Source: NICHD (NIH)2

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Sometimes people call diabetes “a touch of sugar” or “borderline diabetes.” These terms suggest that someone doesn’t really have diabetes or has a less serious case, but every case of diabetes is serious.

Source: NIDDK (NIH)3

Categories

Category of Diabetes:

4

Categories

Category of Diabetes:

  • glucose metabolism disease
5

Categories

Category of Diabetes:

6

Categories

Category of Diabetes:

  • Glucose Metabolism Disorder
  • Endocrine Pancreas Disorder
7

Categories

Categories for Diabetes may include:8 Category of Diabetes:

Prevalence of Diabetes

The rate of DM continues to increase both in the United States5, 6 and throughout the world.7 Due to the steady rise in the number of persons with DM, and possibly earlier onset of type 2 DM, there is growing concern about:

The possibility of substantial increases in diabetes-related complications

  • The possibility that the increase in the number of persons with DM and the complexity of their care might overwhelm existing health care systems
  • The need to take advantage of recent discoveries on the individual and societal benefits of improved diabetes management and prevention by bringing life-saving discoveries into wider practice
  • The clear need to complement improved diabetes management strategies with efforts in primary prevention among those at risk for developing DM

Source: Healthy People (DHHS)9

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In 2012, 1.7 million Americans ages 20 and older were newly diagnosed with diabetes. “That’s not good, but it’s actually less than the 1.9 million new cases we had in 2010,” Nathan says. “It may just be that we are turning the corner a little bit.”

Source: NIH News in Health (NIH)10

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More than 1 in 10 adults over age 20 has diabetes, but about 40% of them don’t know they have the disease, according to a large national survey. In addition, nearly 1 in 3 adults has pre-diabetes.

Source: NIH News in Health (NIH)11

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By comparing data from the 2 time periods, scientists found that the percentage of people with diabetes rose from about 5% in 1988-1994 to nearly 8% a decade later. By 2006 more than 40% of adults had either diabetes or pre-diabetes.

Source: NIH News in Health (NIH)12

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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, diabetes is now estimated to affect 25.8 million Americans, or 8.3% of the population. Seven million of these people are undiagnosed.1

Source: NICHD (NIH)13

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The prevalence of diabetes is rising globally, and the number affected is expected to double by 2030. The prevalence and complications can be reduced through early and appropriate intervention. Within Europe, important differences between potential risk factors (lifestyle, environmental factors, genetic predisposition, etc.) exist.

Source: EC (EU)14

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Prevalence estimates of diabetes mellitus in Europe

According to IDF data, the absolute number of diabetics in the EU-27 will rise from approximately 33 million in 2010 to 38 million in 2030. In 2010, approximately 9% of the adult (20-79 years) EU-27 population was diabetic.

Source: EC (EU)15

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More than 29 million Americans have diabetes, or about 1 of every 11 people. [1] About 8 million of them don't know they have diabetes. Another 86 million—more than 1 in 3 Americans older than 20 years—have prediabetes, a condition in which a person's blood sugar is high, but not yet high enough to trigger diabetes.[2]

Source: CDC Features16

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As of 2014, 29.1 million people in the United States, or 9.3 percent of the population, have diabetes.

Source: NIDDK (NIH)17

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About 208,000 young people under 20 years of age have diagnosed diabetes. Most of them have type 1 diabetes.

Source: NIDDK (NIH)18

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How common is diabetes?

As of 2014, 29.1 million people in the United States, or 9.3 percent of the population, had diabetes. More than 1 in 4 of them didn’t know they had the disease. Diabetes affects 1 in 4 people over the age of 65. About 95 percent of cases in adults are type 2 diabetes.[1]

Source: NIDDK (NIH)19

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Diabetes affects an estimated 940,000 people, and about half of these are not aware they have the disease.

Source: Queensland Health20

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The prevalence of diabetes has been escalating over the last 3 decades, with rates tripling over this period—diabetes affected around 1.2 million people in 2014-15. Rates of diabetes are generally higher among males, the elderly, Indigenous Australians and people living in remote and socioeconomically disadvantaged areas. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form, and is largely preventable by maintaining a healthy lifestyle

Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare21

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An estimated 1.2 million (6%) Australian adults aged 18 years and over had diabetes in 2014-15, based on self-reported data, from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) 2014-15 National Health Survey. This includes people with type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, and type unknown but excludes gestational diabetes.

Information based on self-reported data only is likely to underestimate the prevalence of diabetes as it cannot include people with undiagnosed diabetes. The ABS 2011-12 Australian Health Survey, which included both measured and self-report data showed that for every 4 adults with diagnosed diabetes, there was 1 who was undiagnosed.

Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare22

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The prevalence of diabetes (based on self-reported data) has tripled between 1989-90 and 2014-15. The proportion of people with diabetes has increased from 1.5% to 4.7%.

Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare23

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Inequalities

In 2014-15, the prevalence of diabetes (based on self-reported data) among adults was similar by remoteness and varied by socioeconomic disadvantage (Figure 2). Proportions were:

  • Similar between Major cities (6%), Inner regional (7%) and Outer regional and remote areas (7%).
  • Around twice as high in the lowest socioeconomic group (10% and 7% for men and women, respectively) as those in the highest socioeconomic group (4% each for men and women).

Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare24

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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander

Around 1 in 8 (13%) Indigenous Australian adults (46,200 people) had diabetes, based on self-report and measured data from the ABS 2012-13 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Measures Survey. Diabetes was more common in Indigenous females than males (25,900 and 20,300, respectively; or 56% and 44%).

Based on self-reported and measured results, Indigenous Australian adults were almost 4 times as likely to have diabetes as their non-Indigenous counterparts (18% compared with 5%, after adjusting for differences in the age structures between the populations).

Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare25

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How common is diabetes?

There are over 240,000 people in New Zealand who have been diagnosed with diabetes (mostly type 2). It is thought there are another 100,000 people who have it but don’t know.

Source: New Zealand Health26

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The number of people with both types of diabetes is rising - especially obesity-related type 2 diabetes.

Source: New Zealand Health27

Child Prevalence of Diabetes

Diabetes is one of the most common long-term diseases in school-age children. It affects about 200,000 young people nationwide.

Source: NIH News in Health (NIH)28

World Prevalence of Diabetes

Worldwide estimates of the prevalence of diabetes are scarce and not accurate. A worldwide estimation was provided by a WHO report on estimates of the global prevalence of diabetes in the year 2000 (used in the WHO Global Burden of Disease Study) and projections for 2030.

The number of cases of diabetes worldwide in 2000 among adults (20 and over) is estimated to be 171 million. This figure is 11% higher than the previous estimate of 154 million. The higher prevalence is more likely to be explained by a combination of the inclusion of surveys reporting a higher prevalence of diabetes than was assumed previously and different data sources for some countries.

Source: EC (EU)29

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Has diabetes become a worldwide problem now, as more and more countries deal with changes in diet and growing obesity?

Rates of type 2 diabetes have grown around the world, particularly in the Middle East and Asia. In 2010, the CDC estimated nearly 26 million Americans have diabetes; in India, the number is at least twice that, and in China even greater.

Source: MedLinePlus Magazine (NIH)30

Diabetes: Who Gets It?

Key findings from the National Diabetes Statistics Report, 2014 (based on health data from 2012), include:

  • 29 million people in the United States (9.3 percent) have diabetes.
  • 1.7 million people aged 20 years or older were newly diagnosed with diabetes in 2012.
  • Non-Hispanic black, Hispanic, and American Indian/Alaska Native adults are about twice as likely to have diagnosed diabetes as non-Hispanic white adults.
  • 208,000 people younger than 20 years have been diagnosed with diabetes (type 1 or type 2).
  • 86 million adults aged 20 years and older have prediabetes.
  • The percentage of U.S. adults with prediabetes is similar for non-Hispanic whites (35 percent), non-Hispanic blacks (39 percent), and Hispanics (38 percent).

Source: CDC Features31

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Who gets diabetes?

Type 1 diabetes usually develops in childhood, but it can happen at any age. It is more common in whites than in other racial or ethnic groups. About 5% of adults with diabetes have type 1 diabetes.1 Genes you inherit from your parents play an important role in the development of type 1 diabetes. However, where you live may also affect your risk. Type 1 diabetes develops more often in winter and in people who live in colder climates.

Type 2 diabetes is more common in adults, especially in people who are overweight and have a family history of diabetes. About 95% of adults with diabetes have type 2 diabetes.1 Type 2 diabetes is becoming more common in children and teens as more of them become overweight and obese.5

Source: OWH (DHHS)32

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Age and sex

In 2014-15, the prevalence of diabetes among adults (based on self-reported data):

  • Was higher for men (7%) than women (5%).
  • Increased rapidly up to age 75, with rates among 65-74 year-olds (17%) 3 times as high as for 45-54 year-olds (5%) and 1.4 times as high as for 55-64 year olds (12%) (Figure 1).

Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare33

Onset Age of Diabetes

Diabetes Rates Increasing Among Youth

Soaring obesity rates are making type 2 diabetes, a disease that used to be seen mostly in adults over age 45, more common among young people.

Source: NIH News in Health (NIH)34

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As obesity rates in children continue to soar, type 2 diabetes, a disease that used to be seen primarily in adults over age 45, is becoming more common in young people. Children with diabetes and their families face unique challenges when dealing with diabetes.

Source: NIDDK (NIH)35

Race/Ethnicity and Diabetes

Hispanics had higher death rates than Non-Hispanic whites from diabetes and chronic liver disease and cirrhosis (scarring of the liver).

Source: CDC Features36

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Do women of color need to worry about diabetes?

Yes. Certain racial and ethnic groups have a higher risk for type 2 diabetes. These groups include:

  • African-Americans. African-American women are twice as likely to develop diabetes as white women.6 African-Americans are also more likely to have health problems caused by diabetes and excess weight.
  • Hispanics. Hispanic women are twice as likely to develop diabetes as white women.6 Diabetes affects more than one in 10 Hispanics. Among Hispanic women, diabetes affects Mexican-Americans and Puerto Ricans most often.1
  • American Indian/Alaskan Native. Diabetes affects nearly 16% of American Indian/Alaskan Native adults.1
  • Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander. Native Hawaiians/Pacific Islanders are about twice as likely to develop diabetes as whites.7
  • Asian-Americans. Diabetes is the fifth-leading cause of death for Asian-Americans. Asian-American women are also more likely to develop gestational diabetes than white women and usually develop gestational diabetes at a lower body weight.8

Source: OWH (DHHS)37

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Indigenous Australian adults were almost 4 times as likely to have diabetes as their non-Indigenous counterparts (18% compared with 5%, after adjusting for differences in the age structures between the populations).

Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare38

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Diabetes is most common among M?ori and Pacific Islanders. They’re three times as likely to get it as other New Zealanders.

South Asian people are also more likely to develop diabetes.

Source: New Zealand Health39

Symptom Onset of Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes can develop quickly over weeks or even days.

Many people have type 2 diabetes for years without realising because the early symptoms tend to be general.

Source: NHS Choices UK40

More Information about Diabetes

The National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP) has created new resources to help teens diagnosed with diabetes, along with their parents, manage their disease.

NDEP’s new Tips for Teens with Diabetes series encourages youth to take steps to manage their disease for a long, healthy life. It includes topics such as What is Diabetes?, Make Healthy Food Choices and Dealing with the Ups and Downs of Diabetes. NDEP also created a tip sheet for teens at risk for type 2 diabetes, called Lower Your Risk for Type 2 Diabetes.

There’s also an interactive online quiz for teens with diabetes. All these are available at no charge.

Source: NIH News in Health (NIH)41

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Although the NICHD studies different aspects of all types of diabetes, the NICHD is not the primary resource for patient information about type 1 or type 2 diabetes. The National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse and the National Diabetes Education Program provide detailed information about type 1 and type 2 diabetes, including specific information about diagnosis and glucose levels.

Source: NICHD (NIH)42

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The National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse and the National Diabetes Education Program provide detailed patient information about type 1 and type 2 diabetes, including specific information about treatments.

Source: NICHD (NIH)43

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Did we answer your question about diabetes?

For more information about diabetes, call the OWH Helpline at 800-994-9662 or contact the following organizations:

  • National Diabetes Education Program, CDC, HHS Phone Number: 800-232-4636
  • National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse, NIDDK, NIH, HHS  Phone Number: 800-860-8747
  • American Diabetes Association (link is external) Phone Number: 800-342-2383

Source: OWH (DHHS)44

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References

  1. Source: NICHD (NIH): nichd.nih.gov/ health/ topics/ diabetes/ Pages/ default.aspx
  2. Source: NICHD (NIH): nichd.nih.gov/ publications/ pubs/ gest_diabetes/ Pages/ sub1.aspx
  3. Source: NIDDK (NIH): niddk.nih.gov/ health-information/ diabetes/ overview/ what-is-diabetes
  4. Source: Human Phenotype Ontology
  5. Source: Disease Ontology
  6. Source: Monarch Initiative
  7. Source: NCI Thesaurus
  8. Source: MeSH (U.S. National Library of Medicine)
  9. Source: Healthy People (DHHS): healthypeople.gov/ 2020/ topics-objectives/ topic/ diabetes
  10. Source: NIH News in Health (NIH): newsinhealth.nih.gov/ issue/ nov2014/ feature1
  11. Source: NIH News in Health (NIH): newsinhealth.nih.gov/ 2009/ March/ capsules.htm
  12. ibid.
  13. Source: NICHD (NIH): nichd.nih.gov/ health/ topics/ diabetes/ conditioninfo/ Pages/ risk.aspx
  14. Source: EC (EU): ec.europa.eu/ health/ major_chronic_diseases/ diseases/ diabetes_en
  15. ibid.
  16. Source: CDC Features: cdc.gov/ features/ diabetes-heart-disease/ index.html
  17. Source: NIDDK (NIH): niddk.nih.gov/ health-information/ diabetes
  18. Source: NIDDK (NIH): niddk.nih.gov/ health-information/ health-communication-programs/ ndep/ living-with-diabetes/ youth-teens/ Pages/ index.aspx
  19. Source: NIDDK (NIH): niddk.nih.gov/ health-information/ diabetes/ overview/ what-is-diabetes
  20. Source: Queensland Health: conditions.health.qld.gov.au/ HealthCondition/ condition/ 8/ 77/ 286/ diabetes
  21. Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare: aihw.gov.au/ reports-statistics/ health-conditions-disability-deaths/ diabetes/ overview
  22. Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare: aihw.gov.au/ reports/ diabetes/ diabetes-compendium/ contents/ how-many-australians-have-diabetes
  23. ibid.
  24. ibid.
  25. ibid.
  26. Source: New Zealand Health: health.govt.nz/ your-health/ conditions-and-treatments/ diseases-and-illnesses/ diabetes
  27. ibid.
  28. Source: NIH News in Health (NIH): newsinhealth.nih.gov/ issue/ mar2011/ capsule2
  29. Source: EC (EU): ec.europa.eu/ health/ major_chronic_diseases/ diseases/ diabetes_en
  30. Source: MedLinePlus Magazine (NIH): medlineplus.gov/ magazine/ issues/ fall12/ articles/ fall12pg14.html
  31. Source: CDC Features: cdc.gov/ features/ diabetesfactsheet/ index.html
  32. Source: OWH (DHHS): womenshealth.gov/ a-z-topics/ diabetes\
  33. Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare: aihw.gov.au/ reports/ diabetes/ diabetes-compendium/ contents/ how-many-australians-have-diabetes
  34. Source: NIH News in Health (NIH): newsinhealth.nih.gov/ 2007/ December/ docs/ 02capsules.htm
  35. Source: NIDDK (NIH): niddk.nih.gov/ health-information/ health-communication-programs/ ndep/ living-with-diabetes/ youth-teens/ Pages/ index.aspx
  36. Source: CDC Features: cdc.gov/ features/ MinorityHealth/ index.html
  37. Source: OWH (DHHS): womenshealth.gov/ a-z-topics/ diabetes
  38. Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare: aihw.gov.au/ reports/ diabetes/ diabetes-compendium/ contents/ how-many-australians-have-diabetes
  39. Source: New Zealand Health: health.govt.nz/ your-health/ conditions-and-treatments/ diseases-and-illnesses/ diabetes
  40. Source: NHS Choices UK: nhs.uk/ conditions/ Diabetes/ 
  41. Source: NIH News in Health (NIH): newsinhealth.nih.gov/ 2007/ December/ docs/ 02capsules.htm
  42. Source: NICHD (NIH): nichd.nih.gov/ health/ topics/ diabetes/ conditioninfo/ pages/ diagnosed.aspx
  43. Source: NICHD (NIH): nichd.nih.gov/ health/ topics/ diabetes/ conditioninfo/ Pages/ treatment.aspx
  44. Source: OWH (DHHS): womenshealth.gov/ a-z-topics/ diabetes

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Note: This site is for informational purposes only and is not medical advice. See your doctor or other qualified medical professional for all your medical needs.