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Diabetes: Widespread, Poorly Understood

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Diabetes: Widespread, Poorly Understood

October 03, 2008

As of 2007, almost 8 percent of Americans – nearly 24 million people – suffer from diabetes, a serious and chronic condition that can lead to complications such as blindness, amputations or even death, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About a quarter of them don't know they have the disease. In recent years, rising obesity rates have been linked to a striking rise in the number of Type 2 diabetes cases, particularly among children and teens. Between 5 and 10 percent of diabetics have Type 1 diabetes (sometimes called juvenile diabetes), which is caused by the body's failure to produce insulin and is not linked to obesity, according to the CDC. A third type of diabetes, gestational, can develop during pregnancy. An estimated 57 million Americans suffer from pre-diabetes--higher than normal blood glucose levels that put them at high risk of developing diabetes. Updated March 2010

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