Why do people get diabetes?

No one knows why people get diabetes. Among the causes of diabetes are genetic or hereditary factors and the environment. Diabetes affects 5% to 7% of the U.S. population. Prevalence in Pima Indians is 35%. African Americans, Alaska Natives, American Indians, Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, some Pacific Islander Americans, and Hispanic Americans are at increased risk. The prevalence of diabetes increases with age, from 2% in persons ages 20 to 44 years to 18% in persons ages 65 to 74 years.

The number of cases of diabetes is expected to rise. According to recent estimates, the prevalence of diabetes in the United States is predicted to reach 8.9 percent of the population by 2025. Diabetes cases in the U.S. are likely to increase for several reasons:

  •  The population is aging and the incidence of diabetes increases with age.
  • Hispanic Americans and other minority groups make up the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. population. Diabetes is more prevalent in these populations.

  • Americans are increasingly overweight and sedentary. Both of these factors put the population at increased risk of the disease.

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