5.7 million of those people are undiagnosed, according to the U.S. CDC.
And if current trends continue, 1 in 3 Americans will develop diabetes sometime in their lifetime, shaving more than 10 years from their lives in the process.
If you could determine your chance of getting the disease, would you?
A new test by Tethys Bioscience allows doctors to identify which patients are most at risk of getting Type II diabetes within five years.
Diabetes is a disease in which the body has a shortage of or decreased ability to use the hormone insulin, which helps facilitate the conversion of glucose (sugar) into energy.
Left uncontrolled in the blood, glucose can progressively damage vital organs, causing blindness, loss of limbs and heart problems.
It's a serious problem in the U.S. -- a health epidemic, according to the federal government -- and more than 90 percent of diabetes cases are Type 2.
Tethys' new test, called the PreDx Diabetes Risk Score, uses algorithms and bio-markers to help warn people who are predisposed to getting the disease -- those with elevated blood sugar, a family history of diabetes or obesity -- of their real risk, ahead of time.
With that kind of insight, people have the time to make lifestyle changes or undergo drug therapy.
It's not just about saving lives, either. It's also about saving the economy.
The CDC has pegged the price tag of diabetes at an astounding $174 billion. More than $116 billion of that is for direct medical costs.
Why so high? Because people with diagnosed diabetes have medical expenditures 2.3 times higher than for those without the disease.
In an exclusive SmartPlanet video, we talk with Edward Kersh, cardiologist for St. Luke's Hospital in San Francisco, and Brian Best, Tethys' VP of commercial operations, to learn more about how the test helped one woman get a wake up call.
This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com