New research shows that half of all Americans are either diabetic or have high blood sugar. The study published by JAMA in September 2015, shows that nearly 50% of the American adult population is either pre-diabetic-a person with such high blood sugar that they are at risk of developing diabetes-or has already been diagnosed with diabetes.

Diabetes is diagnosed when the blood sugar level is elevated because insufficient insulin is produced to lower blood sugar (resulting in type 1 diabetes) or the body develops insulin resistance (resulting in type 2 diabetes), both of which are mainly caused by poor diet, lack of exercise or obesity which lead to the metabolic imbalance.

Diabetes can destroy the eyes, blood vessels and kidneys resulting in tissue infections and poor wound healing. Based on the statistics from the American Diabetes Association, about 71,000 people die from diabetes-related complications annually.

Researchers found that more than one-third of people with diabetes, mostly Asian Americans (50%), are undiagnosed; meaning they are not aware that they have diabetes. About 20% of Asian Americans, 22% of African Americans, 23% of Hispanics and 11% of Caucasians were diagnosed with diabetes.

Results from a 2012 study also indicted that the proportion of adults with diabetes was between 12% and 15% while those with high blood sugar was 38%. The majority of those diagnosed with diabetes had type 2 diabetes, which is caused by poor diet, lack of exercises and obesity. It is also important to note that the percentage of diabetes cases has increased sharply between 1990 and 2008 with the increase being steady thereafter.

Researchers have also emphasized the fact that diabetes prevalence and age have a strong correlation irrespective of sex, race, ethnicity and level of education. The older you are, the greater the risk of being diagnosed with diabetes.

According to researchers, learning about diabetes helps us to better understand how to research the disease and employ better preventive measures. Dr. Griffin Rodgers, Director of the National Institute of Diabetes says that although there are treatments for people with diabetes, only those who have been diagnosed can receive help. So it is important to go for a medical examination to assess your health.

If left untreated, diabetes can increase your risk of stroke, kidney diseases, heart attack, blindness, nerve damage and untreatable wounds. Complications from diabetes can be fatal. All in all, people are advised to eat a well balanced diet, check their Body Mass Index, exercise often and receive an annual check-up from their physician.