updated 1/26/2011 11:40:39 AM ET 2011-01-26T16:40:39

U.S. health officials have raised their estimate of how many Americans have diabetes to nearly 26 million.

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released the new estimate Wednesday. It means about 1 in 12 Americans have diabetes, a disease in which the body has trouble processing sugar.

The new figure marks a 9 percent increase from the 2008 estimate of 23.6 million.

Health officials believe diabetes is becoming more common for two reasons — more people are developing obesity-related Type 2 diabetes, and people who have it are living longer.

But CDC officials say an additional blood sugar test that's now used more widely may be responsible for as much as half of the increase.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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