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Diabetes is a chronic condition and a leading cause of death and disability in the United States. Complications of diabetes are serious and may include blindness, kidney damage, heart disease, stroke, nervous system disease, amputation, and complications during pregnancy. The two main types of diabetes are Type 1 (insulin dependent) and Type 2 (non-insulin dependent). Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults, and is commonly referred to as “juvenile diabetes.” Type 2 diabetes is more common; it is often diagnosed among adults but is becoming increasingly common among children. Risk factors for Type 2 diabetes include obesity, physical inactivity, and a family history of the disease.

In 2004, women under the age of 45 were more likely to report having diabetes than men of the same age. The rate of diabetes increased with age for both sexes; however, older men were more likely to have diabetes than their female counterparts. The rate of diabetes among women under the age of 45 was 21.4 per 1,000 women, compared to 18.1 per 1,000 men of the same age. The rates among women and men 75 years and older were 156.2 and 176.8 per 1,000, respectively.

Non-Hispanic Black women are more likely than women of other racial and ethnic groups to have diabetes: the rate of diabetes among this group was 103.6 per 1,000 in 2004, compared to a rate of 77.8 per 1,000 Hispanic women and 61.1 per 1,000 non-Hispanic White women. Most women with diabetes do not take insulin, which indicates that they likely have Type 2 diabetes. Although diabetes is most common among non-Hispanic Black women, a greater proportion of non-Hispanic White women with diabetes did not take insulin in 2004.

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Women's Health USA 2006 is not copyrighted. Readers are free to duplicate and use all or part of the information contained on this page. Suggested Citation: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, Women's Health USA 2006. Rockville, Maryland: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2006.