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Survey: People With Diabetes Unaware of Their Increased Risk for Certain Serious Illnesses

medic-alert-braceletToday, nearly 30 million people in the U.S. are living with diabetes, and 90-95 percent have type 2 diabetes. According to the American Diabetes Association, about 1.4 million new cases of diabetes are diagnosed in the U.S. every year.[1],[2]

Diabetes increases the risk for certain serious illnesses including pneumococcal pneumonia/pneumococcal disease, flu and hepatitis B. However, many adults 18+ with diabetes were unaware of their increased risk for these illnesses, according to a recent national, online consumer awareness survey sponsored by the American Diabetes Association and Merck. The survey was conducted by Harris Poll among approximately 1,000 U.S. adults age 18+ who have ever been diagnosed with type 1 or type 2 diabetes.

While published data[3] show that adults with diabetes are approximately three times more likely to develop pneumococcal disease compared to healthy adults of the same age, only about 1 in 3 survey respondents who have diabetes (35%) believed they were at least somewhat personally likely to get pneumococcal pneumonia/pneumococcal disease. Survey respondents were about twice as likely to recognize the potential for adults with diabetes to develop kidney disease (72%) and heart disease (67%) than infectious diseases—such as pneumococcal disease (36%)—compared to adults without diabetes.

This lack of awareness is significant—the survey also found that discussion of these diseases was not often enough initiated by HCPs (doctors or pharmacists) or patients themselves within the past year.

“These data illustrate that patients with diabetes are not fully aware of their risk of other serious illnesses, and that there is a critical communication gap between patients and their health care providers about the risks for serious illness, including pneumococcal pneumonia or pneumococcal disease, flu and hepatitis B for adults with diabetes. Because people with diabetes have increased risks for these diseases and more complicated medical courses when they contract them, health care providers should seek to initiate discussions with patients to bridge the information gap, as recommended in our Standards of Care,” said the American Diabetes Association’s Immediate-Past Chief Scientific & Medical Officer Robert E. Ratner, MD.

Open communication with their health care professionals can help people living with diabetes learn more about their risk for certain serious illnesses. The American Diabetes Association’s Standards of Care in Diabetes advises healthcare professionals to talk with patients who have diabetes about these illnesses. For more information about pneumococcal pneumonia, flu or hepatitis B, talk to your healthcare professionals, and visit

This information was provided by Merck

*This survey was conducted online by Harris Poll, on behalf of Merck and the American Diabetes Association, from April 12-26, 2016, among 1,003 U.S. adults age 18 and older who have ever been diagnosed with type 1 or type 2 diabetes; not employed by a federal, state, county or local government agency/facility; does not personally work/have a household member who works in a competing industry; and is not currently involved in a medical clinical trial. Data were not weighted and are only representative of those who completed the survey.

[1] ADA 2016, “Statistics About Diabetes”

[2] ADA 2016, "About Type 2 Diabetes"

[3] Shea et al. 2014, “Rates of Pneumococcal Disease in Adults with Chronic Medical Conditions”




About Sacred Heart Villa

The Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ created Sacred Heart Villa (formerly St. Michael Convent) in 2003 with the vision of providing a personal care home for the Sisters and other seniors of southeastern Pennsylvania. The Sisters renovated St. Michael in order to create 35 personal care residential rooms. Sacred Heart Villa officially opened her doors to her first new residents in May 2004, with space for 57 Sisters and 40 other senior residents.  The facility has two residential buildings, a remodeled dining room, a new fireside lounge, library, café and beauty shop. The chapel remains in the middle of the facility for it truly is the Heart of the community. Each new residential room provides an individual with privacy, safety and security in an environment of beauty and grace. Mass is celebrated each day, and is open to the public.

Sacred Heart Villa is now accepting residents. If you are seeking care for yourself or loved one, contact Sacred Heart Villa today at 610-929-5751 for a tour. You can also visit or visit us at