U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Diabetes

Body with blood sugar countDiabetes affects an estimated 29.1 million people in the United States. It is the seventh leading cause of death, and the leading cause of kidney failure, non-traumatic lower limb amputations, and, in working-age adults, blindness.

  • Type 1 diabetes affects approximately 5 percent of adults and the majority of children and youth with diagnosed diabetes.
  • Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of the disease, accounting for about 90 to 95 percent of diagnosed diabetes cases in U.S. adults. Type 2 diabetes is also increasingly being diagnosed in children and adolescents, and disproportionately affects minority youth.
  • Prediabetes affects an estimated 86 million adults in the United States. Those with prediabetes are at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
  • Gestational diabetes affects a significant proportion of pregnant women. In addition to placing the mother and child at risk for complications during childbirth, gestational diabetes increases the risk for eventual type 2 diabetes for both mother and child.

The NIDDK supports basic, clinical, and translational research to combat diabetes and its associated complications. For example, NIDDK researchers are:

  • studying genetic and environmental factors that contribute to the development and progression of diabetes;
  • studying ways to preserve insulin-producing cells of the pancreas;
  • identifying new methods to improve blood glucose monitoring and insulin delivery in type 1 diabetes;
  • examining behavioral approaches to prevent type 2 diabetes and to enhance diabetes self-management;
  • conducting clinical trials testing new prevention and treatment strategies for diabetes and its complications, such as a trial comparing different type 2 diabetes medications and trials testing ways to prevent type 1 diabetes in relatives of people with the disease; and
  • uncovering the fundamental cellular and molecular pathways underlying development of diabetes and its complications to develop new approaches to prevention and management.

The NIDDK also administers the Special Statutory Funding Program for Type 1 Diabetes Research, which is a special appropriation dedicated to supporting research on type 1 diabetes and its complications. More information on the Program and the research it supports is available on the Type 1 Diabetes Research Special Statutory Funding Program website.

In addition, the NIDDK's National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse (NDIC) provides information about diabetes to people with diabetes and to their families, health care professionals, and the public. The National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP)​ works with over 200 partners at the federal, state, and local levels to improve the treatment and outcomes for people with diabetes, promote early diagnosis, and prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes.​​

Recent discoveries from NIDDK research include: