Diabetes is the 7th leading cause of US death, but most people first have prediabetes. Do you? Over a third of US adults have prediabetes but don’t know it. Learn how to check your risk and steps you can take for prevention!

It’s pretty common for people to worry more about sensational risks than the everyday realities that can threaten their lives. It’s just human nature. People often overestimate the risk of frightening things we hear reported on the news and overlook many real dangers lurking in our lives. That’s sometimes the case with preventable health risks, such as Type  2 diabetes. The CDC says that diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death in the United States, and may be under-reported. That’s because diabetes often leads to or is a factor in many other serious health conditions.

November is American Diabetes Month, sponsored by the American Diabetes Association (ADA), but really, any month is a good time to learn your risk. What exactly is diabetes? The CDC defines it in simple terms as “a chronic (long-lasting) health condition that affects how your body turns food into energy.” There are three main types of diabetes: Type 1, Type 2 and gestational, Learn more about the 3 types of diabetes:

Diabetes Prevalence (CDC)

  • More than 37 million people in the United States have diabetes, and 1 in 5 of them don’t know they have it.
  • 96 million US adults — over a third — have prediabetes, and more than 8 in 10 of them don’t know they have it.
  • Type 2 diabetes accounts for approximately 90% to 95% of all diagnosed cases of diabetes; type 1 diabetes accounts for approximately 5-10%.
  • In the last 20 years, the number of adults diagnosed with diabetes has more than doubled as the American population has aged and become more overweight or obese.

Diabetes complications

  • People with diabetes are twice as likely to have heart disease or a stroke than people without diabetes.
  • People with diabetes have 1.5 times higher chances of having a stroke than in people who don’t have diabetes.
  • Two of three people with diabetes report having high blood pressure or take prescription medications to lower their blood pressure.
  • People with diabetes are twice as likely to experience hearing loss.
  • Diabetes is the leading cause of vision loss in people 18–64 years old.
  • Nerve damage from diabetes is called diabetic neuropathy, affecting about half of all people with diabetes.
  • Having diabetes can lead to kidney damage which can lead to kidney failure and disease.

Do you have prediabetes? How to check 

Before people develop type 2 diabetes, people almost always have prediabetes — blood glucose levels that are higher than normal but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. Prediabetes can be prevented or reversed with proven lifestyle changes. These include losing weight (if one is overweight), eating a healthy diet, and getting regular physical activity. The CDC-led National Diabetes Prevention Program can help people make healthy changes that have lasting results.

Additional resources

Did you know? ESI EAP members have access to certified wellness coaching programs that can help with nutrition, fitness, weight management, and smoking cessation – steps that can help lessen the risk of prediabetes.



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