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. The main types of diabetes are Type 1, Type 2, and gestational (diabetes occurring or first recognized 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 prevalence has been increasing among children and adolescents as well. Risk factors for Type 2 diabetes include obesity, physical inactivity, a family history of the disease, and gestational diabetes.

In 2005–2008, 11.8 percent of adults were found to have diabetes (tested positive for the condition on a fasting plasma glucose test, glycohemoglobin A1C test, or 2-hour oral glucose test; data not shown). Diabetes prevalence did not vary by sex and generally increased with age for both men and women. Women aged 65 years and older were significantly more likely than younger women to have diabetes. More than 30 percent of women aged 65–74 years and 34.7 percent of those aged 75 years and older had diabetes, compared to 15.7 percent of 55- to 64-year-olds and 8.8 percent of those aged 45–54 years.

Among women aged 18 years and older who were found to have diabetes , only 54.9 percent reported that they had been told by a health professional that they have diabetes. Non-Hispanic Black women were more likely than non-Hispanic White women to have ever been told by a health professional that they have diabetes (63.7 versus 49.1 percent, respectively). Other observed differences were not statistically significant.

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