Are Native Americans at Greater Risk for Diabetes?


Native Americans are at a greater risk of having diabetes than anyone. While almost six percent of the U.S. population has some form of this disease, among the Native American populations, that number is twice as high.

Diabetes Among Native Americans

Prevalance of type 2 diabetes among Native Americans in the United States is 12.2% for those over 19 years of age.

One tribe in Arizona has the highest rate of diabetes in the world. About 50% of the adults between the ages of 30 and 64 have diabetes.

Ten to twenty-one percent of all people with diabetes develop kidney disease. In 1995, 27,900 people initiated treatment for end stage renal disease (kidney failure) because of diabetes. Among people with diabetes, the rate of diabetic end stage renal disease is six times higher among Native Americans.

Diabestes is the most frequent cause of non-traumatic lower limb amputations. The risk of a leg amputation is 15 to 40 times greater for a person with diabetes. Each year 54,000 people lose their foot or leg to diabetes. Amputation rates among Native Americans are 3-4 times higher than the general population.

Diabetic retinopathy is a term used for all abnormalities of the small blood vessels of the retina caused by diabetes, such as weakening of blood vessel walls or leakage from blood vessels. Diabetic retinopathy occurs in 18% of Pima Indians and 24.4% of Oklahoma Indians.

The Dangerous Toll of Diabetes

There are 15.7 million or 5.9% of the population in the United States who have diabetes.

While an estimated 10.3 million have been diagnosed, 5.4 million people are not aware that they have the disease.

Each day approximately 2,200 people are diagnosed with diabetes. About 798,000 people will be diagnosed this year.

Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States and the sixth-leading cause of death by disease. Based on death certificate data, diabetes contributed to 193,140 deaths in 1996.

Each day approximately 2,200 people are diagnosed with diabetes. About 798,000 people will be diagnosed this year.

Health care and other costs directly related to diabetes treatment, as well as the costs of lost productivity, run $98 billion annually.

Statistics from the American Diabetes Association

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