One in 3 Americans Could Become Diabetic by 2050

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Currently one in 10 U.S. adults have diabetes now but according to the report by Disease Control and Prevention, it could rise sharply over the next 40 years with as many as one in three having the disease, primarily type 2 diabetes.

"There are some positive reasons why we see prevalence going up. People are living longer with diabetes due to good control of blood sugar and diabetes medications, and we're also diagnosing people earlier now," says Ann Albright, director of the CDC's Division of Diabetes Translation.

"We project that, over the next 40 years, the prevalence of total diabetes (diagnosed and undiagnosed) in the United States will increase from its current level of about one in 10 adults to between one in five and one in three adults in 2050," Boyle and colleagues wrote in their report.

Type 2 diabetes statistical numbers are alarming

"These are alarming numbers that show how critical it is to change the course of type-2 diabetes," CDC diabetes expert Ann Albright said in a statement. "Successful programs to improve lifestyle choices on healthy eating and physical activity must be made more widely available because the stakes are too high and the personal toll too devastating to fail."

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Diabetes is the No. 1 reason for adult blindness, kidney failure and limb amputation, and it's a large contributor to heart attacks and strokes, she says. "It's also now linked to a form of dementia, some forms of cancer and some forms of lung disease. Diabetes impacts so many systems in the body," Albright says.

"Because the population is getting older and because the population in general is obese and because the demographics of the population," said Sr. Health and Medical Editor for ABC News, Dr. Richard Besser. "The racial makeup is changing; the rate of diabetes is going go up dramatically."

"Vending machines should not sell sugar soda or candy bars. School fundraisers should not revolve around unhealthy food," says endocrinologist Susan Spratt, who adds that cities need to be pedestrian-friendly, bike-friendly and safe.

A price will be paid if the projections go unheeded, experts say. The CDC estimates the current cost of diabetes at $174 billion annually — $116 billion of which is in direct medical costs.

Diabetes was the seventh-leading cause of death in the United States in 2007, and is the leading cause of new cases of blindness among adults under age 75, as well as kidney failure, and leg and foot amputations not caused by injury.

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