Close-up of a group of adults standing together with arms around each others shoulders and smiling

Health Index Priority: Diabetes

MaineHealth remains focused on treating prediabetes, preventing the onset of type 2 diabetes and providing quality care for people with diabetes.

Why does MaineHealth focus on diabetes?

  • The U.S. CDC estimates that approximately one out of three adults has prediabetes.
  • In 2020, about 1 in 10 adults (almost 140,000 people) in Maine had diabetes.
  • From 2018-2020, diabetes was the 6th leading cause of premature death among people in Maine.
  • Over the past 10 years, the percent of people with diabetes in Maine has increased from 8.7% in 2010 to 10.3% in 2020.
  • Medical costs for people with diabetes are more than double what they are for people without diabetes.

Taking Action

MaineHealth supports a variety of clinical, community and policy actions to help treat prediabetes, prevent diabetes and provide quality care for people with diabetes throughout the MaineHealth service area. Here are some of the ways MaineHealth and our partners are responding:

Tracking Progress

The Health Index Initiative tracks and monitors a variety of data sources to measure progress being made to prevent and treat diabetes. In 2020, MaineHealth leaders set a bold, aggressive target as a way to challenge MaineHealth organizations to continue achieving positive steps toward the MaineHealth vision.

  • Long-term measure and target: By 2028, 9% or less of adults in the MaineHealth service area will have diabetes.

The rate of diabetes among people in Maine increased from 4.2% in 1996 to 10.3% in 2020. This trend was mirrored in the U.S. overall.

A graph showing diabetes rates among adults in Maine

The percent of adults 55 years and older with diabetes significantly increased between 2000 and 2020. The percent among 55-64 year olds grew from 9% in 2000 to 15.4% in 2020 and from 13.1% in 2000 to 18.6% in 2020 among those 65 years and older.

A graph showing adult diabetes rates by age

Hemoglobin A1C (A1C) is a blood test that measures a person’s average blood sugar levels. Among MaineHealth patients, the percent of patients with an elevated A1C (A1C greater than 9) or untested A1C has decreased since peaking at 20.2% in September 2020. By the end of September 2022, this percent decreased to 15.7%, below the system target of 17.0% and the lowest this measure has been since FY18.

A graph showing A1C rates among MaineHealth patients