U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration

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Diabetes mellitus 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, and nervous system disease. Diabetes is becoming increasingly common among children and young adults. The main types of diabetes are Type 1, Type 2, and gestational (occurring only during pregnancy). Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults, but may occur at any age. Type 2 diabetes is the most common; it is often diagnosed among adults but has increased among children. Risk factors for Type 2 diabetes include obesity, physical inactivity, and a family history of the disease.

In 2005–2006, 76.0 per 1,000 adults reported that they had been told by a health professional that they have diabetes (data not shown). Women were slightly more likely than men to have diabetes overall (81.2 versus 70.4 per 1,000 adults, respectively) and in most age groups.

Diabetes prevalence generally increases with age. Fewer than 30 per 1,000 women aged 18– 44 years had diabetes, compared to 197.5 per 1,000 women aged 65–74 years. Women aged 55–64 and 75 years and older also had relatively high rates of diabetes (155.5 and 153.4 per 1,000 women, respectively).

Among adults aged 18 years and older who were found to have diabetes (based on the results of a Fasting Plasma Glucose test), 33.2 percent had never been told by a health professional that they have diabetes. Women who tested positive were less likely than men to have reported never being diagnosed by a health professional (24.1 versus 45.2 percent, respectively).

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