The Impact of Diabetes

More than 29 million people in the U.S. are either diagnosed or are 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 support to help patients prevent, manage and treat 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 numerous complications from the disease affect the individual, it also takes a tremendous economic toll on the country. It is 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

Strategies and Resources for Care

Family physicians are instrumental in developing and implementing strategies early in the diagnosis to 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 offers resources to help family physicians with prevention, screening, treatment, management, and counseling of their patients. These 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 education materials.

Self-management Education and Support in Adults with Type 2 Diabetes

This new report is a resource for family physicians to promote patient self-management and improve outcomes. AAFP joined six national organizations in developing the report.



1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Diabetes report card 2014. Atlanta, Ga. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; 2015. https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/pdfs/library/diabetesreportcard2014.pdf. 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.