Diabetes affects an estimated 34.2 million people in the United States and is the seventh leading cause of death. Diabetes can affect many parts of the body and is associated with serious complications, such as heart disease and stroke, blindness, kidney failure, and lower limb amputation. In addition to increasing the risk for these complications, diabetes also doubles the risk for many forms of cancer, some forms of dementia, hearing loss, erectile dysfunction, urinary incontinence, and many other common diseases.

  • 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 88 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, NIDDK has congressional authorization for the National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse, which provides services via the NIDDK Health Information Center. NIDDK responds to questions and provides health information about diabetes to people with diabetes and to their families, health professionals, and the public.

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To achieve its mission, NIDDK supports, conducts, coordinates, and plans research. NIDDK also provides data and samples from NIDDK-funded studies and explains research findings to health professionals and the public.

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NIDDK makes publicly supported resources, data sets, and studies available to researchers.

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NIDDK provides patient education information, practice tools for diagnosis and treatment, and statistics.