Statement from HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on National Diabetes Month and World Diabetes Day

HHS: 11/14/12

On Nov. 14, World Diabetes Day, we unite with individuals living with diabetes, their families, advocates and health care professionals to raise awareness of this devastating disease around the world. Combating diabetes is an urgent public health issue. More than 340 million people worldwide have diabetes. As the seventh leading cause of death in the United States, diabetes affects nearly 26 million Americans of all ages. Another 79 million adults are estimated to have prediabetes, a condition that places them at increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke. In November, we also observe National Diabetes Month and reaffirm our commitment to educating ourselves and our communities on how we can manage, treat or prevent diabetes.

Insulin helps the body use glucose from food for energy. With type 2 diabetes, the most common form of the disease, the body does not make or use insulin well. With type 1 diabetes, the body does not make insulin, and the individual must have insulin delivered by injection or pump to survive. While we have made progress in research leading to improved treatment of diabetes, the burden of this devastating disease continues to rise. Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure, nontraumatic lower-limb amputations, and new cases of blindness among adults in the United States. Diabetes also is a major cause of heart disease and stroke. Preventing type 2 diabetes and its complications can improve the quality of life for millions of people and save billions of dollars. The direct and indirect costs of diabetes in 2007 were as much as $174 billion. Read more