Office for the Aging


November is National Diabetes Awareness Month

In the United States, 26 million are living with diabetes and 79 million more have prediabetes. An estimated 1.5 million adult New Yorkers (10.4%) have been diagnosed with diabetes. Diabetes is also more common among older adults, adults with lower household incomes. Diabetes is also more common among older adults, adults with lower household incomes and educational attainment, and among adults with disabilities.

According to the New York State Department of Health, "diabetes is a disease in which the body does not make any insulin or can't use the insulin it does make as well as it should. Insulin is a hormone made in the body. It helps glucose (sugar) from food enter the cells where it can be used to give the body energy. Without insulin, glucose remains in the blood stream and cannot be used for energy by the cells. Over time, having too much glucose in the blood can cause many health problems."

One out of every twelve New Yorkers is currently affected by diabetes and over one million have been diagnosed with the disease. Further, estimates indicate that there are even more people that have prediabetes, a condition that increases the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by 15-30%. Having diabetes can lead to cardiovascular disease, stroke, blindness, kidney failure, amputation, and various other serious health problems. Now is the time to take charge of your diabetes. Waiting can have dire consequences.

According to the American Diabetes Association, recent estimates project that as many as one in three American adults will have diabetes in 2050 unless we take steps to stop diabetes.

The Toll on Health

  • -Two out of three people with diabetes die from heart disease or stroke.
  • -Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure.
  • -Diabetes is the leading cause of new cases of blindness among adults.
  • -The rate of amputation for people with diabetes is 10 times higher than for people without diabetes.
  • -About 60-70 percent of people with diabetes have mild to severe forms of nerve damage that could result in pain in the feet or hands, slowed digestion, sexual dysfunction and other nerve problems.

Cost of Diabetes

  • -The American Diabetes Association estimates that the total national cost of diagnosed diabetes in the United States is $245 billion.
  • -Direct medical costs reach $176 billion and the average medical expenditure among people with diabetes is 2.3 times higher than those without the disease.
  • -Indirect costs amount to $69 billion (disability, work loss, premature mortality).
  • -One in 10 health care dollars is spent treating diabetes and its complications.
  • -One in five health care dollars is spent caring for people with diabetes.

New York's Response
New York State has taken great steps to combat this disease. For example, the New York State Health Department and the New York State Office for the Aging collaborate to expand access to various programs and services that aim to prevent and reduce the severity of diabetes. Two such programs that are evidence-based and proven effective are the New York State Diabetes Prevention Program and the Diabetes Self-Management Program. These programs aim to prevent, delay, or help individuals better manage their disease. For more information on these programs and where they are available, please visit the University at Albany's Center for Excellence in Aging and Community Wellness.(External Link) The University operates the Quality and Technical Assistance Center that serves as New York's Coordinator of evidence-based interventions. Their website provides information about all evidence-based interventions in New York State. You can also contact the Center directly at For information on other types of program and services for individuals with or at risk of developing diabetes, please visit the New York State Health Department(External Link) website.

Did You Know?

You may qualify for free diabetes screening. Visit this Preventative Screening Checklist document(External Link) to find out more.

The best way to fight diabetes is to prevent its onset. The National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP) web site(External Link) offers statistics, dietary guidelines, and other information that can assist those with concerns.

There are other resources for information about diabetes. Visit the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control web site for more information.(External Link)