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What is Diabetes?

Diabetes mellitus is a disease in which the body is either no longer making a hormone called insulin or the insulin that is made is not working as it should. Either way, high amounts of glucose (a form of sugar) build in the bloodstream and cause problems from damage to the eyes, kidneys, blood vessels, and nerves. For this reason, diabetes is the primary cause of new cases of adult blindness, kidney failure, and non-traumatic lower-limb amputation. Over a million Michigan adults have diabetes. Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure.

What is Prediabetes?

Prediabetes is a condition where people have higher than normal blood glucose levels, but not yet high enough to be diagnosed with diabetes. People with prediabetes are at high risk of developing diabetes. In Michigan, it is estimated over 2.6 million (8.2% of the population*)adults have prediabetes. If you have prediabetes, learn more about preventing type 2 diabetes by signing up for the Diabetes Prevention Program.

Facts and Risk Factors:

One in 11 U.S. adults has been diagnosed with diabetes (closer to one in 10 in Michigan). At the current rate of growth, one in four U.S. adults will be diagnosed with diabetes by 2050. As much as 80 percent of the growth in diabetes can be attributed to the rise in obesity. Obesity, in turn, is influenced by factors such as increased consumption of calories and decreased opportunities for physical activity. Some races and ethnicities are disproportionately affected by diabetes. African Americans, Hispanics, American Indians, Asian and Pacific Islanders, and Arab Americans all have higher prevalence of type 2 diabetes compared to White, non-Hispanics.

Find out more about participating in the African American Women's Health Initiative. If you live in Inkster or Flint, are an African American woman, are at least 18, and either have diabetes or is at risk, you can receive gift cards for participating.


The latest statistics, developed by the Michigan Department of Community Health’s Diabetes Prevention and Control Program (DPCP), show the following:

  • Diabetes affects 29.1 million Americans (9.3% of the population) and an estimated 1.85 million (10.4% of the population*) Michigan citizens.
  • Prediabetes, a condition in which individuals have blood glucose levels higher than normal but not high enough to be classified as diabetes, affects 86 million Americans, including 2.6 million (8.2% of the population*) citizens in Michigan.
  • Diabetes costs the United States $174 billion annually and over $9 billion per year in Michigan.
  • Diabetes disproportionately affects some groups of people more than others, such as certain racial/ethnic groups, physically inactive people, overweight people and those who have a familial predisposition to the disease.


See what the NKFM is doing about diabetes disparities in 3 Michigan communities.
Diabetes Community Coalitions

Michigan Department of Community Health
View the Diabetes Burden Report and the Michigan Diabetes Action Plan

National Diabetes Education Program
View NDEP's Diabetes Snapshot

Centers for Disease Control
View the CDC's Diabetes Fact Sheet

Diabetes Prevention Program

Diabetes Partners in Action Coalition

Make a Move- Diabetes Resources in Michigan

MDHHS Behavioral Risk Factor Survey*