Diabetes control taking great strides

A study funded by the likes of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reveals that overall satisfaction of diabetes control requirements is on the incline.

According to the current report — which consults National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys from 1988-1994 and from 1999-2010 — nearly 19 percent of diabetes patients are now able to meet or exceed condition management expectations. Compared to the previous 2 percent of patients able to assuage their goals, such results indicate considerable progress, although researchers were quick to point out that there’s still a long way to go, particularly for young people and minority groups — demographics that were below average in meeting set aims.

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“The most impressive finding was the significant improvement in diabetes management over time across all groups,” said Catherine Cowie, PhD, the study’s senior author and director of the Diabetes Epidemiology Program at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), in a news release. “However, we see a lot of room for improvement, for everyone, but particularly for younger people and some minority groups.”

Americans with diabetes improved in all three integral areas of condition management:

Figure 1:

[See also: Lifestyle changes improve health and reduce disability in people with type 2 diabetes]

All information and data courtesy of National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys, NIH, CDC and the NIDDK. Presentation by PhysBizTech.

Figure 2:

All information and data courtesy of National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys, NIH, CDC and the NIDDK. Presentation by PhysBizTech.

Figure 3:

All information and data courtesy of National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys, NIH, CDC and the NIDDK. Presentation by PhysBizTech.

Improvement in cholesterol control was attributed by the study’s cohort to the use of statins, which increased to 51 percent in 2007-2010 from 4 percent during 1988-1994. Glucose control and A1C adherence were harder to come by in Mexican-Americans and younger adults; 44 percent of Mexican-American patients met A1C goals compared to 53 percent of Caucasian and African American patients in 2007-2010, and patients aged 20-49 years old were not as apt to reach A1C goals as their older counterparts were.

“It is particularly disturbing that good control was seen less frequently in young people,” noted Judith Fradkin, MD, director of the NIDDK Division of Diabetes, Endocrinology, and Metabolic Diseases. “Research has shown that good diabetes control early in the course of disease has long-lasting benefits reducing the risk of complications. For people with long life expectancy after diagnosis of diabetes, it’s especially important to focus on meeting diabetes management goals as early as possible, because with that longer life comes a greater chance of developing complications if they do not control their diabetes.”

“Not only do Mexican-Americans and non-Hispanic blacks have higher rates of diabetes, members of these groups who develop diabetes also have poorer health outcomes,” added the paper’s first author, Sarah Stark Casagrande, PhD, an epidemiologist from Social & Scientific Systems Inc., Silver Spring, Md. “While diabetes control has improved in these populations, some disparities remain, demonstrating the need for improved management of the disease to prevent its devastating complications.”

The acceptable range for A1C maintenance is below 7 percent; the blood pressure goal is typically set at 130/80; and it’s recommended that patients over 40 specifically, keep their low-density lipoprotein less than 100 milligrams per deciliter.

As some 26 million Americans are currently diagnosed with diabetes and approximately 79 million more are labeled prediabetic, the CDC, NIH and NIDDK vehemently recommend that physicians work with their patients to improve condition control measures. To aid in this process, the organizations provide the following virtual tools for patients and their doctors to make use of in treatment:  

The full report was published in the Feb. 15 issue of Diabetes Care.

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