The American Diabetes Association Diabetes Research Perspective
- 1Division of Endocrinology, Department of Medicine, Tulane University Medical Center, New Orleans, Louisiana
- 2President, Medicine & Science, American Diabetes Association, Alexandria, Virginia
- 3Medical Affairs and Community Information, American Diabetes Association, Alexandria, Virginia
- 4Research Programs, American Diabetes Association, Alexandria, Virginia
- 5Scientific and Medical Division, American Diabetes Association, Alexandria, Virginia
- Corresponding author: Tamara Darsow, .
The burden of diabetes is enormous and escalating at an alarming rate (1–3). Nearly 26 million Americans have the disease, including over 10% of the total adult population and over 25% of the population aged 65 years and older. While most of those individuals have type 2 diabetes, nearly 1 million Americans have type 1 diabetes. An additional 79 million American adults have prediabetes, which, when added to those with diabetes, suggests that nearly half of the adult population currently has impaired glucose metabolism (1). If present trends continue, as many as one in three American adults will be diagnosed with diabetes by 2050; the majority of cases will include older adults and racial and ethnic minorities (4).
The high prevalence of diabetes, especially among the aging population, comes at a considerable economic cost. In 2007, diabetes and prediabetes accounted for approximately $218 billion in direct medical costs and lost productivity in the U.S. (5). Health care expenditures for individuals with diabetes are 2.3 times greater than expenditures for those without diabetes, and diabetes complications account for a significant proportion of those costs (5). Diabetes significantly increases the risk of cardiovascular events and death, and is the leading cause of end-stage renal disease, blindness, and nontraumatic lower-limb amputations in the U.S. (1). Despite medical advances significantly decreasing the risk of complications and associated mortality, the trajectory of these declines has been blunted by the overall increase in the number of people afflicted with diabetes.
Decades of intensive research have resulted in vastly improved understanding of the pathophysiology and impact of diabetes, as well as a host of new and improved therapies. The translation of this research into practice has led to reductions in chronic complications and mortality in people with diabetes (6). Yet, as the incidence and …