Two sets of hands holding diabetes ribbons

About Diabetes

Diabetes is a group of disorders in which blood sugar levels are above normal due to defects in insulin production from pancreatic beta cells, insulin action, or both. Diabetes can lead to severe complications if improperly controlled. Complications include heart disease, kidney failure, blindness, and amputation of lower limbs. Over 10 percent of Americans have been diagnosed with diabetes, and the prevalence of diabetes is rapidly increasing. In fact, a 2010 report in Population Health Metrics predicts that the diabetes prevalence will triple and that up to one in three Americans will have diabetes by 2050.

Of note, Alabama has one of the highest rates of diabetes in the nation at over 15 percent. Almost every county in Alabama counts itself in a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identified diabetes belt. The UAB Comprehensive Diabetes Center is proud to operate in a region where diabetes research and curative therapies are most needed.

Aside from the human suffering, the health care costs of diabetes are also extremely high. In 2017, the yearly medical costs of treating diabetes and its complications are estimated to be approximately $327 billion. And, $1 out of every $4 spent in U.S. health care costs is spent on caring for people with diabetes. The yearly indirect costs (disability, work loss, premature death) of diabetes are estimated to be $90 billion.