A century ago, a diabetes diagnosis was, for many, a death sentence. At the time, no method for extracting insulin to treat diabetes had been discovered, and the life expectancy for people diagnosed with type 1 diabetes was less than three years.
While we have come a long way, diabetes remains a serious, chronic condition. It is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States. More than 30 million Americans are currently living with diabetes, and an additional 84 million American adults are at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Recent research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) indicates a troubling trend of increased type 2 diabetes among youth and young adults. For those who live with this condition, diabetes threatens to cause additional health complications, including heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, blindness, complications requiring amputation, and other serious conditions.
My Administration is committed to continue supporting patients, healthcare providers, and researchers in their efforts to address diabetes. We now have better ways to prevent or delay type 2 diabetes and treat diabetes and related complications. We know, for example, that people who have prediabetes can prevent or delay the onset of type 2 by losing a modest amount of weight.
Federal agencies have made great strides in combatting diabetes. The CDC has established the National Diabetes Prevention Program, which is now covered under the Medicare Diabetes Prevention Program and is available throughout the country. Earlier this year, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services expanded the Medicare Diabetes Prevention Program to provide an evidence-based lifestyle change program to Medicare beneficiaries at risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Through the program’s self-management education and support services, we are improving care for people with diabetes and helping reduce medical costs. Ongoing research funded by NIH is also helping uncover effective methods of preventing and treating type 2 diabetes and slowing the development of diabetes-related complications.
During National Diabetes Month, our Nation comes together to raise awareness of diabetes, celebrate the progress we have made in combatting it, and recommit ourselves to defeating it. As we look forward to the future of innovation and medical advancements in the battle against diabetes, I encourage all Americans to take a proactive role in their health by working with their healthcare providers to understand their risk for type 2 diabetes or manage their diabetes and prevent its complications.