Unpacking the Diabetes Epidemic: Challenges and Misconceptions in North America

In North America, diabetes is a big problem that’s getting worse. As of 2021, over 38.4 million Americans have diabetes. That’s about 11.6% of all people living in the U.S., showing just how common this health issue is. But not everyone is affected the same way. Different groups of people, like American Indians/Alaskan Natives, non-Hispanic black people, and Hispanic people, have higher rates of diabetes. This tells us that some communities need extra help to deal with this disease.

Type 2 diabetes, which is the kind most people have, is being found more often in younger people. This goes against the old idea that only older adults get diabetes. It shows we need to look at how young people live, like what they eat and how much they move, to stop diabetes from starting early in life.

There are some wrong ideas about diabetes that make it hard to fight against. Some people think it only happens if you don’t live a healthy life or if you’re overweight. But it’s not that simple. Things like your family history, where you live, and if you can get good food and healthcare also matter a lot. It’s important to know the real facts so we can take better steps to stop and handle diabetes.

The cost of diabetes is huge—over $412.9 billion in the U.S. in 2022. This includes money spent on doctors and medicine, and money lost when people can’t work. This shows why we need good ways to manage and prevent diabetes, to help save money and make people’s lives better.

To fight diabetes in North America, we need to do a few things: make sure everyone can get healthy food, make healthcare easier to get, and teach people more about diabetes. By tackling these issues, we can help lower the number of people with diabetes and make life better for those who have it.

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