Study says patients are meeting three markers for good diabetes control

Despite rising global diabetes rates, patients - in the US, at least - are meeting important health goals to manage the condition properly.

A study from the National Institutes of Health showed that the number of people who were able to meet three key standards of good diabetes control rose from 2 percent in 1988 to 19 percent in 2010.

Three measures

Often called the ABCs of diabetes, the three measures are: A1C, which measures blood sugar levels over the previous three months, blood pressure and cholesterol.

"The most impressive finding was the significant improvement in diabetes management over time across all groups,” said Catherine Cowie, Ph.D., the study’s senior author and director of the Diabetes Epidemiology Program at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK).

Cowie notes, however, that there is still room for improvement, especially for younger people and some minority populations.

According to the study, 53 percent of people met A1C goals, compared to 43 percent in 1988; 51 percent met blood pressure goals, compared in 33 percent in 1988; and 56 percent met their cholesterol goals, compared to 10 percent in 1988.

Improving care, but young people aren't paying attention

The study notes that improved cholesterol levels may be attributed to the use of statins. And while numbers have improved, people between 20 and 49 years old were far less likely to meet health goals than their elders.

“It is particularly disturbing that good control was seen less frequently in young people,” said Judith Fradkin, M.D., 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.” 

Fradkin says that meeting diabetes goals early on will ensure longer life and fewer diabetes-related problems.

According to the study, since 1988, the U.S. prevalence of diabetes has doubled - from 4 percent to 9 percent in 2012.

Source: NIH

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