• Diabetes

    The Impact of Diabetes

    More than 29 million people in the United States are either diagnosed or undiagnosed with diabetes, and another 86 million are living with prediabetes.1 Family physicians are often the leader of a patient’s care team, and need to have the knowledge and resources to help patients prevent and manage diabetes.

    Diabetes has a serious impact on both individual and population health. Individually, the affect of diabetes can be seen in the many health complications associated with the disease. These can stretch across the lifespan of a patient. For instance, the prevalence of diabetes in children and young adults is increasing. Among youth younger than 20 years in the U.S., it is estimated that more than 18,000 new cases of type 1 diabetes and more than 5,000 new cases of type 2 diabetes will be diagnosed each year.1

    While complications from the disease affect the individual, it also takes an economic toll. It's estimated that in the U.S., the total economic costs associated with diabetes management and treatment, and lost productivity due to the disease, exceeds $320 billion annually.2

    Resources for Diabetes Care

    Family physicians are instrumental in developing and implementing strategies early in the diagnosis to help effectively manage and treat the disease. Strategies will often depend on patient symptoms, age, and comorbidities. Access to nutritional food, adherence to exercise programs, and social determinants of health are major factors in preventing and slowing the progression of the disease. Strategies will likely focus on several factors determined by the doctor and patient.

    The AAFP has a variety of resources to help family physicians with prevention, screening, treatment, management, and counseling of their patients. The resources below include clinical practice guidelines, clinical preventive service recommendations, continuing medical education (CME) courses, and journal articles. Additionally, the AAFP has resources for practice management and patient-specific materials.


    AAFP Journal Articles

    American Family Physician (AFP)

    Family Practice Management (FPM)


    Social Determinants of Health

    • The Social Determinants of Health page offers resources to improve access to care, health equity, cultural proficiency, climate change and more.
    • The AAFP's EveryONE Project offers resources to help family physicians take action and confront health disparities head on to improve health outcomes.



    1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Diabetes report card 2014. Atlanta, Ga. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; 2015. Accessed April 7, 2017.

    2 Dall TM, Yang W, Halder P, et al. The economic burden of elevated blood glucose levels in 2012: diagnosed and undiagnosed diabetes, gestational diabetes mellitus, and prediabetes. Diabetes Care. 2014;37(12):3172-3179.