29 Diabetes Statistics and Facts You Need to Know 
Time to read 10 min
Time to read 10 min
Diabetes is one of the most prevalent diseases in the world.
It's been increasing at an alarming rate, yet so many people remain undiagnosed and don't even know they have it.
It's important to know the different types of diabetes, the risk factors to look out for, and how to prevent it.
Here are 29 diabetes statistics and facts to keep you up-to-date on everything diabetes-related.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) National Diabetes Statistics Report, about 37.3 million Americans had diabetes in 2019.
That's equivalent to 11.3% of the population, which is relatively high compared to other chronic diseases.
Out of the 37.3 million adults with diabetes, only 28.7 million adults were diagnosed. The remaining 8.5 million adults (22.7%) had no idea they had diabetes.
That means that nearly 1 in every 4 people with diabetes wasn't watching their blood glucose and was liable to complications and risk factors.
According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), about 1.4 million Americans find out they have diabetes every year, and the number is only increasing.
The sooner diabetes is discovered, the better you can control and manage it. People who discover they're liable to diabetes early on can even avoid medication altogether.
A few healthy modifications can be enough to prevent diabetes onset.
And so, the ADA urges people to regularly monitor their blood glucose and follow up with their doctors.
According to the National Diabetes Statistics Report, about 283,000 diagnosed Americans were children and adolescents younger than age 20.
Nearly 244,000 of them, or 86%, had type 1 diabetes, which usually appears early on in life.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), diabetes prevalence has been increasing at an alarming rate. It jumped from 108 million to 422 million adults from 1980 to 2014.
That's almost a 400% increase in the span of 34 years!
It's more prevalent in low and middle-income countries than in high-income countries.
In fact, the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) estimates that 3 in 4 adults with diabetes live in low- and middle-income countries.
This is likely due to a lack of awareness in low and middle-income countries or high costs of treatment.
According to a 2020 report by UK's National Health Service (NHS), a record-high of nearly 2 million healthy people following up with their GP were diagnosed with non-diabetic hyperglycemia.
This elevated blood glucose level could easily become type 2 diabetes if not monitored and controlled.
As for the rest of the European Union, about 30 million people are already diabetic, according to the European Commission.
The IDF reports expect the estimated prevalence of diabetes to reach 643 million by 2030 and 783 million by 2045.
Surprisingly enough, we're already very close to this prediction, with 537 million people (ages 20-79) already diagnosed in 2021.
According to the CDC's National Diabetes Statistics Report, about 90-95% of people with diabetes have type 2, while the remaining 5-10% have type 1 diabetes.
The good news is type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed with healthy lifestyle changes, unlike type 1 diabetes which is unpreventable.
Type 2 diabetes is also easily managed with oral medication without the need for insulin in most cases.
Type 1 diabetes is a condition where your pancreas can't make enough insulin for your body to process glucose or blood sugar. The underlying cause is usually an autoimmune reaction where your body mistakenly attacks your pancreas.
There's no method of prevention, and you're forced to take insulin for the rest of your life.
Type 1 diabetes usually appears early in children and adolescents, but it could be years before health problems or symptoms manifest.
Pregnant mothers often develop gestational diabetes, which is hyperglycemia that occurs during pregnancy because of the many hormonal changes involved.
The NHS warns that both the mother and baby have a high risk of developing diabetes in the future.
The WHO encourages all pregnant mothers to regularly check their blood glucose to avoid the complications of gestational diabetes.
Prediabetes is a condition where your blood glucose is higher than normal but not high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. This is also known as "impaired glucose tolerance" or "impaired fasting glycemia."
According to the CDC reports, approximately 96 million American adults have prediabetes. That's more than 1 in every 3 adults.
Of these 96 million adults, about 80% have no idea they have prediabetes and are at risk of heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.
Studies by the CDC have shown that losing 5% to 7% of your body weight can help delay or prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes in prediabetics.
That's about 10 to 14 pounds for a 200-pound adult.
The AHA recommends you eat a little healthier and exercise an average of 150 minutes per week to keep diabetes at bay.
According to the American Heart Association, some of the non-modifiable risk factors for diabetes are family history, ethnic background, and age.
Having a family member with diabetes gives you a higher risk of developing the disease. Being from an ethnic background such as Native American, African-American, Latino/Hispanic-American, or Asian-American also increases your chances.
Type 2 diabetes usually develops in adults after the age of 40, but it's become increasingly common among children and adolescents nowadays.
According to the Australian Centre for Disease Control (ACDC), obese people are 10 times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes.
The high risk of diabetes onset, along with other cardiovascular complications, are some of the main reasons obesity is such a dangerous risk factor.
This is why the AHA recommends regular physical activity to help with diabetes prevention and control.
People who smoke cigarettes are 30%–40% more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than non-smokers.
The CDC explains that smoking can make it much harder to manage your condition, and you might have trouble with insulin dosing.
Sugary and processed food and drinks can lead to high blood glucose levels and type 2 diabetes.
The AHA recommends following a healthy diet of whole grains, fruits and vegetables, fish, skinless poultry, legumes, non-tropical vegetable oils, and unsalted nuts and seeds.
Studies by the AHA have shown that type 2 diabetics who aren't getting enough sleep can potentially have high A1C.
It's recommended that if you suffer from sleep apnea or insomnia, you should talk to your physician and monitor your blood glucose level and overall health.
The ADA ranked diabetes as the seventh major cause of death in the United States in 2019.
A total of 282,801 certificates had diabetes-related deaths, which underlines the growing need for prevention and control.
Diabetes is a major risk factor for other health problems, like heart disease, chronic kidney disease, nerve damage, vision loss, and hearing loss.
This is because the elevated blood sugar level can damage the blood vessels feeding these organs when left untreated.
Minor scraps and untreated cuts usually don't heal in adults with diabetes and can lead to diabetic foot and lower limb amputation. You might not even feel or notice them due to the lack of sensation that comes with damaged nerves in your foot.
This is why proper foot care is crucial for adults with diabetes. You should regularly inspect your feet for any changes and make sure to keep them dry.
According to the Diabetes Research Institute (DRI), about 39.2% of adults with diagnosed diabetes developed chronic kidney disease from 2017 to 2020.
Of those with diagnosed diabetes, 62,012 cases progressed to end-stage kidney disease (kidney failure).
The DRI reports diabetes as the primary cause of new cases of blindness in adults aged 18–64 years.
About 11.8% of diagnosed diabetes cases experience severe vision difficulty or blindness.
IDF reports estimate the total number of deaths caused by diabetes in 2021 to be 6.7 million.
That's equivalent to almost 1 death every 5 seconds.
The CDC warns people with diabetes are twice as likely to develop heart disease or suffer a stroke. The longer you have diabetes, especially if uncontrolled, the more likely this is to happen.
To lower your chances of heart disease, you just need a healthy diet and regular physical activity.
Regularly monitor your A1C, blood sugar levels, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels to make sure you're on the right track.
In a 2017 study by the ADA, the cost of diabetes reached $327 billion, including $237 billion in direct medical costs and $90 billion in reduced productivity.
About two-thirds of the expenses were related to hospital care and medication for complications.
The ADA's report also noted a 26% increase in diabetes-related medical costs over five years from 2012 to 2017.
The numbers skyrocketed from $245 billion in 2012 to $327 billion in 2017. About 15% of these expenses went to anti-diabetic medications.
The ADA estimated the health expenditure of people with diagnosed diabetes to be 2.3 times higher than those without the disease.
These expenses include the management of diabetes and other problems it has caused.
The 2021 IDF report estimates the global burden of diabetes-related expenses to be around USD 966 billion. That's equivalent to a 316% increase over the last 15 years.
Diabetes Australia expects diabetes-related health expenditure to exceed USD$1,028 billion by 2030.
The ADA estimates that a fourth of US healthcare dollars go to diabetes-related problems, including medications, hospital stays, management of complications, and more.
This shows just how much of a financial burden diabetes is, in addition to its health concerns.
When it comes to a life-threatening condition like diabetes, you can't know too much.
Hopefully, with these 29 diabetes statistics and facts, you'll be aware of the burden this disease can potentially bring you and your loved ones.