ATLANTA – The United States may be turning the tide in its fight against diabetes. Findings in the BMJ’s Open Diabetes Research and Care showed 1,335,000 new cases of diabetes were diagnosed nationally in 2017, which was down nearly 400,000 from 1,726,000 cases in 2008.
“The findings suggest that our work to stem the tide of type 2 diabetes may be working, but we still have a very long way to go,” said Ann Albright, Ph.D., director of the Division of Diabetes Translation at the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). “We must continue proven interventions and deploy innovative strategies if we’re going to see a continued decline in type 2 diabetes among Americans.”
The study may be found here. Researchers from the CDC calculated annual prevalence and incidence of diagnosed diabetes (type 1 and type 2 combined) for adults of the ages 18-79 by using data from the National Health Interview Survey from 1980 to 2017.
The incidence of age-adjusted, diagnosed diabetes did not change significantly from 1980 to 1990, but then it increased significantly from 1990 to 2007 to reach 7.8 per 1,000 adults. A significant decrease brought the number down to 6 per 1,000 adults in 2017. Non-Hispanic whites appeared to drive the decrease in incidence.
The decrease in incidence of diagnosed cases brought the rate in 2017 to the same levels as 2000 and represented a 35 percent decrease since the peak year of 2009.
“Although an encouraging sign of success, due to the persistence of major risk factors such as obesity and pre-diabetes, we caution that trends are likely affected by changing awareness, detection and diagnostic practices,” the study’s authors said. “Even in the event of true reductions in incidence, the high prevalence and declining mortality signifies a continued high overall burden of diabetes. For these reasons, we urge a continued emphasis on multilevel multidisciplinary prevention to reduce both type 2 diabetes and diabetes complications, along with improved surveillance of trends in screening and detection.”