Numbers Show Better Control of Diabetes, But Room for Improvement
There is good news and not so good news in recent diabetes data released by the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2010, more than half of all persons with diabetes met individual A1C, blood pressure and cholesterol treatment goals. However, just one in five persons with diabetes was able to meet or exceed all three goals in 2010. This achievement is a marked improvement from just 2 percent who met all three goals in 1988.
The three measures are often called the ABCs of diabetes. A1C assesses blood sugar (glucose) over the previous three months. When A1C, blood pressure and cholesterol fall outside of healthy ranges, people are more likely to suffer complications of diabetes, including heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, blindness and amputation.
The study looked at the ability of persons with diabetes to control the three factors over a three decade period, by comparing 1988-1994 and 1999-2010 data. Improvement was shown in all three measures.
Source: National Institutes of Health, http://www.nih.gov/news/health/feb2013/niddk-15.htm
The significant gains in cholesterol control are attributed to the increased use of statin prescription drugs, which about half of all persons with diabetes reported taking during 2007-2010.
The study’s senior author, Dr. Catherine Cowie, said in a press release, “The most impressive finding was the significant improvement in diabetes management over time across all groups. However, we see a lot of room for improvement, for everyone, but particularly for younger people and some minority groups.”
Good diabetes control is important for persons of all ages, but is especially critical for younger persons. Longer lifetimes with diabetes come with more chances to develop complications. Diabetes control includes careful eating, physical activity, monitoring of the three ABC factors, and appropriate use of prescription drugs.
About 26 million Americans have diabetes and another 70 million have prediabetes, a condition that places them at higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes and heart disease. The CDC reports that the prevalence of reported diabetes has more than doubled since 1988, moving from 4 percent in 1988 to 9 percent in 2010.