Diabetes Mellitus

NDIC - National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse

  • Total Prevalence of Diabetes in the United States, All Ages, 2005

    Total: 20.8 million people—7 percent of the population—have diabetes.

    Diagnosed: 14.6 million people

    Undiagnosed: 6.2 million people

  • Prevalence of Diagnosed Diabetes in People Aged 20 Years or Younger, United States, 2005

    About 176,500 people aged 20 years or younger have diabetes. This group represents 0.22 percent of all people in this age group.

    About one in every 400 to 600 children and adolescents has type 1 diabetes.

    Although type 2 diabetes can occur among youth, the nationally representative data that would be needed to monitor diabetes trends in youth by type are not available. Clinically based reports and regional studies suggest that type 2 diabetes, although still rare, is being diagnosed more frequently in children and adolescents, particularly in American Indians, African Americans, and Hispanic/Latino Americans.

  • Deaths Among People with Diabetes, United States, 2002

  • Diabetes was the sixth leading cause of death listed on U.S. death certificates in 2002. This ranking is based on the 73,249 death certificates in which diabetes was listed as the underlying cause of death. According to death certificate reports, diabetes contributed to a total of 224,092 deaths.

  • Diabetes is likely to be underreported as a cause of death. Studies have found that only about 35 to 40 percent of decedents with diabetes have diabetes listed anywhere on the death certificate and only about 10 to15 percent had it listed as the underlying cause of death.

  • Overall, the risk for death among people with diabetes is about twice that of people without diabetes of similar age.
  • Complications of Diabetes in the United States

    Heart disease and stroke
  • Heart disease and stroke account for about 65 percent of deaths in people with diabetes.

  • Adults with diabetes have heart disease death rates about 2 to 4 times higher than adults without diabetes.

  • The risk for stroke is 2 to 4 times higher among people with diabetes.

High blood pressure

  • About 73 percent of adults with diabetes have blood pressure greater than or equal to 130/80 mm Hg or use prescription medications for hypertension.


  • Diabetes is the leading cause of new cases of blindness among adults aged 20 to 74 years.

  • Diabetic retinopathy causes 12,000 to 24,000 new cases of blindness each year.

Kidney disease

  • Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure, accounting for 44 percent of new cases in 2002.

  • In 2002 in the United States and Puerto Rico, 44,400 people with diabetes began treatment for end-stage kidney disease.

  • In 2002 in the United States and Puerto Rico,153,730 people with end-stage kidney disease due to diabetes were living on chronic dialysis or with a kidney transplant.

Nervous system disease

  • About 60 to 70 percent of people with diabetes have mild to severe forms of nervous system damage. The results of such damage include impaired sensation or pain in the feet or hands, slowed digestion of food in the stomach, carpal tunnel syndrome, and other nerve problems.

  • Almost 30 percent of people with diabetes aged 40 years or older have impaired sensation in the feet (i.e., at least one area that lacks feeling).

  • Severe forms of diabetic nerve disease are a major contributing cause of lower-extremity amputations.


  • More than 60 percent of nontraumatic lower-limb amputations occur among people with diabetes.

  • In 2002, about 82,000 nontraumatic lower-limb amputations were performed in people with diabetes.

Dental disease

  • Periodontal (gum) disease is more common in people with diabetes. Among young adults, those with diabetes have about twice the risk of those without diabetes.

  • Almost one-third of people with diabetes have severe periodontal diseases with loss of attachment of the gums to the teeth measuring 5 millimeters or more.

Complications of pregnancy

  • Poorly controlled diabetes before conception and during the first trimester of pregnancy can cause major birth defects in 5 to 10 percent of pregnancies and spontaneous abortions in 15 to 20 percent of pregnancies.

  • Poorly controlled diabetes during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy can result in excessively large babies, posing a risk to both mother and child.

Other complications

  • Uncontrolled diabetes often leads to biochemical imbalances that can cause acute life-threatening events, such as diabetic ketoacidosis and hyperosmolar (nonketotic) coma.

  • People with diabetes are more susceptible to many other illnesses and, once they acquire these illnesses, often have worse prognoses. For example, they are more likely to die with pneumonia or influenza than people who do not have diabetes.

Diabetes is no joke - complications with pictures