Of those 20.8 million, there have been 14.6 million who have received a diagnosis of either Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes. The other 6.2 million have no idea that their body is currently fighting against the life-threatening condition.
Dr. Fouad Kandeel, Department of Diabetes, Endocrinology, and Metabolism director, noted that specifically in Native Americans, nearly 80 percent will be affected by diabetes at some point in their life.
Type 1 diabetes is an auto-immune disease which generally will appear between age five and age 15, though it is not limited to that age group. Type 2 stems from the inability of the body to absorb and properly use insulin, generally developing during the adult years.
Diabetes that goes untreated or improperly monitored is a leading cause of ailments such as blindness, coronary and artery disease, nerve damage, and even amputation of the lower extremities in extreme cases.