CHICAGO (CBS) — Tens of millions of Americans unknowingly have prediabetes, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The CDC says more than 100 million adults in the United States are now living with diabetes or prediabetes, which is a version of the disease that can develop into type 2 diabetes if left alone.
Nearly 90 percent of those with the condition are unaware of it, according to the CDC.
“The numbers go up each year,” said Dr. Brain Layden, chief of endocrinology at University of Illinois at Chicago. “It’s probably the biggest crisis in our country right now.”
However, Dr. Layden says a simple blood draw can help slow the trend, along with proper diet and exercise.
Such habits are instilled at Camp PowerUp, a local week-long camp for youth who are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes. The program reinforces healthy eating and living in an effort to stop diabetes from impacting another generation.
“I’ve been starting to eat healthier ever since I’ve started taking those classes,” said Mykayla Mays, a 10-year-old attending Camp PowerUp.
The American Diabetes Association is hoping programs such as this can help future adults avoid becoming a statistic.
“We’re bringing awareness and knowledge with nutrition and physical activity,” said Maria Ochoa, a Camp PowerUp coordinator.
If left undiagnosed or untreated, type 2 diabetes can lead to nerve damage, blindness and even death. All of which, however, can be avoided by getting an annual physical and a blood screening.
According to the American Diabetes Association, Illinoisans are increasingly feeling the effects of diabetes. Their Chicago land office says it’s committed to educating the public about how to stop the disease, as well as support those living with it. As such, on Sept. 23, they are hosting their ‘2017 Step Out’ at Didier Farms, which is either a 1 or 3.2 mile walk through the Lincoln Park neighborhood.
“Our Step Out Walks foster tradition and hope to all who attend,” the event’s website reads. “Step Out is a time to come together and celebrate our Red Striders [participants who are living with type 1 or 2 diabetes].”