On The Table

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CDC Finds Diabetes Rates in America Are Declining

Finally, some good news. With media outlets flooding our ears on how unhealthy most Americans have become, it's about time we had some good news on the health front. We've all heard how nutrient-poor our diets have become and how our waistlines (and our children's waistlines) just seem to keep growing as a result. Luckily it's not all bad news now.

CDC Finds Diabetes Rates in America Are Declining

Making the Grade: CDC reports that US Diabetes Rate is Actually Declining

The 2014 Diabetes Report Card - which is put out by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention's National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion - gave Americans one of the most positive grades on diabetes than we've seen in years. The Diabetes Report Card is published by the CDC every 2 years to dispatch our status as a nation when it comes to new onset diabetes in the United States.

Diabetes has been a growing epidemic for decades. But according to this report from the CDC, it might be beginning to slow down a bit. In fact, the CDC has reported that the US diabetes rate is actually declining. Though, while the numbers may not be growing radically each year, they are still startlingly high.

The bright side of those high new onset diabetes rates is that now they are dropping lower than they've been for nearly a decade.

Data Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Center for Health Statistics, Division of Health Interview Statistics, data from the National Health Interview Survey. Data computed by personnel in the Division of Diabetes Translation, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, CDC.

Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes in the US, accounting for about 90%-95% of diagnosed diabetes in US adults.

While overall diabetes rate appears to be declining, it isn't the case across the board. Alarmingly, rates of diabetes continue to increase among certain groups-such as non-Hispanic blacks, Hispanics, and individuals with less than a high school education.

Since the early 90's there has been a steady upswing in the number of new diabetes cases, and this hit a peak in 2008 with 1.7 million new people were diagnosed with diabetes. Since then, the trend became a downward slope, and now in 2014, it has decreased enough to be statistically important, with only 1.4 million new cases.

While the number of new cases of diabetes has certainly begun to go downhill, there are still an alarming number of people who are getting diagnosed each year.

Maybe more and more of us are getting the message on how to prevent diabetes - and research has shown that we can prevent diabetes through lifestyle interventions like consuming a healthy diet, losing weight, exercising regularly, getting good sleep, and reducing our stress levels.

As with any chronic disease, diabetes comes with major risk. Long-term complications of uncontrolled diabetes include blindness, nerve damage, kidney damage, high blood pressure, and an increased risk of heart disease.

It is possible to thwart diabetes and keep this potentially harmful disease at bay. Doctors are able to determine if an individual has prediabetes - which occurs before diabetes.

Prediabetes is completely reversible, and the CDC estimates that 86 million US adults-more than 1 in 3-had prediabetes in 2012. That means that we could reduce the number of new-onset diabetes cases by keeping prediabetes in check.

Prediabetes is a serious health condition, and people who have this are at a greatly increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. Although approximately 37% of US adults have prediabetes, only 11% of adults with prediabetes are actually aware of it.

Many physicians are stepping up to the plate and letting their patients know if their body is displaying characteristics that arise prior to diabetes. A fasting blood glucose level that is over 100, but less than 125 means an individual is in the tenuous stages before full onset diabetes. It may take a few years, or just a few months, for a person to progress into full diabetes. Ask your doctor and know your numbers so that you can stave off diabetes before it becomes too late.

If you already have diabetes - there is still great news. Diabetes is a disease that can normally be managed with just diet and lifestyle changes. While medications might be helpful initially, many people are able to reduce or completely eliminate their diabetes medications just by eating right, exercising, and reducing their stress levels.

Build your own diabetic meal plan here!

For more information on prediabetes, diabetes and trends for diabetes in the United States, visit the American Diabetes Association at www.diabetes.org.