About half of America’s population will have diabetes or become prediabetic by 2020, says a recent prediction by UnitedHealth Group Inc.

The disease might account for at least 10 per cent of the total healthcare spend of the U.S. by the end of this year.

The members of the UnitedHealth Group noted that the average annual health care costs in 2009 for a person with known diabetes were about $11,700 compared with about $4,400 for the non-diabetic public. It might nearly double to $20,700 per person.

Those with prediabetes are often not recognized. Their blood pressure rates go high, but not high enough to be diagnosed of diabetes. Prediabetics have other risk factors such as high cholesterol and overweight.

The researchers suggest this trend of increasing cases of diabetes is not totally inevitable. If preventive steps are taken, it could be tackled effectively.

"Because diabetes follows a progressive course, often starting with obesity and then moving to prediabetes, there are multiple opportunities to intervene early on and prevent this devastating disease before it's too late," Deneen Vojta, senior vice president of the UnitedHealth Center for Health Reform & Modernization, said in a statement. If better solutions were laid out, America could save up to $250 billion over the next decade.