A senior woman getting a checkup at the doctor's office.Every 19 seconds someone’s life is changed by the results of a blood test diagnosing diabetes.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Diabetes Statistics Report for 2017, 30.3 million people (9.4 percent of the U.S. population) were diagnosed with diabetes and 84.4 million people (33.9 percent) had pre-diabetes in 2015.

The American Medical Association (AMA) has developed strategies and services for helping primary care and health systems implement pre-diabetes identification and referral processes to prevent progress from pre-diabetes to type 2 diabetes. Additional information will be shared during a National Learning and Action Network event titled Engaging Physicians and Care Teams to Prevent and Manage Diabetes scheduled for Wednesday, November 8 from 2:00-3:30 p.m. (CT).

Nearly half (44.8 percent) of adults 65 and older had pre-diabetes and 25.2 percent of those diagnosed with diabetes also came from this age group. While age is certainly one of the major risk factors for pre-diabetes and diabetes, race and education level also have an impact.

Based on data from 2015, the following was true related to age, race and education for diabetes diagnosis:

  • Over half of the 1.5 million newly diagnosed individuals were between the ages of 45 and 64
  • American Indian/Alaska Native was highest of the different ethnic groups for diagnosis
  • Age-adjusted incidence was two times higher for those with less than a high school education
    (10.4/1000 vs 5.3/1000)

Diabetes and Pre-diabetes Prevalence by Age, Race and Education, 2015

Diabetes Pre-diabetes
Age Percentage of U.S. Population
18 and older 12.2% 33.9%
65 and older 25.2% 44.8%
Race/Ethnicity 30.3 million   84.1 million
American Indian/Alaska Native 15.1%
Black, non-Hispanic 12.7% 36.3%
Hispanic 12.1% 31.7%
White, non-Hispanic 7.4% 31.5%
Asian 8% 35.7%
Less than high school education 12.6% 37.6%
High school education 9.5% 37%
More than high school education 7.2% 30.4%

A healthcare provider may use multiple tests to determine blood glucose levels before diagnosing diabetes or pre-diabetes. Below are three primary blood tests and the related results for diagnosing pre-diabetes and diabetes.

Blood Test Pre-diabetes Diabetes
A1C 5.7% to 6.4% 6.5% or higher
Fasting Plasma Glucose (FPG) 100 mg/dl to 125 mg/dl 126 mg/dl or higher
Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT) 140 mg/dl to 199 mg/dl 200 mg/dl or higher

Routine blood tests are used to monitor increased blood glucose allowing health care professionals to recommend behavior and lifestyle change. Even small changes can have an impact on blood glucose levels and diabetes self-management education programs can provide tools and support to help individuals achieve change.

These evidence-based workshops cover topics including diet, exercise, goal-setting and working with the health care provider to improve health outcomes. The Great Plains Quality Innovation Network is working with healthcare facilities across the four-state region to improve health outcomes and reduce issues of health disparities among people with diabetes. Learn more about efforts to coordinate workshops and provide referrals for caregivers and individuals diagnosed with diabetes on the Great Plains QIN website.