Diabetes Control Rates Up Amongst U.S. Residents
February 16, 2013

Diabetes Control Rates Up Amongst U.S. Residents

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports — Your Universe Online

Americans, as a whole, are doing a better job of controlling their diabetes, but there is still room for improvement amongst young people and some minority groups, federal health officials claim in a new study.

Researchers from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) analyzed health-related survey data and discovered the number of patients who were able to meet or exceed the three primary measurements of good diabetes management increased from approximately two percent to roughly 19 percent from 1988 to 2010.

In addition, more than half of the individuals studied met goals for each of those three measures -- A1C (average blood glucose levels over the previous three months), blood pressure, and cholesterol levels -- in 2010, the study´s authors report in the February 15 online edition of the journal Diabetes Care. The data used for the study originated from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES) from 1988-1994 and 1999-2010.

"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), said in a statement Friday. "However, we see a lot of room for improvement, for everyone, but particularly for younger people and some minority groups."

The 2007-2010 NHANES study data revealed 53 percent of Americans with diabetes met their A1C goals, an increase of ten percent from the 1988-1994. Likewise, 51 percent met blood pressure goals in the most recent survey (up from 33 percent in 1988-1994) and 56 percent achieved their cholesterol goals (up from ten percent).

“Improved cholesterol control was likely due to the increase in the use of statins, a type of cholesterol-lowering drug, from about 4 percent of people with diabetes during 1988-1994 to 51 percent during 2007-2010,” NIH officials explained. “Glucose control was worse in Mexican-Americans and in younger adults. Only 44 percent of Mexican-Americans met A1C goals, versus 53 percent of whites and blacks in 2007-2010 data. People between 20-49 years old were less likely to meet A1C goals than older people.”

"It is particularly disturbing that good control was seen less frequently in young people," said Dr. Judith Fradkin, 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 Dr. Sarah Stark Casagrande, an epidemiologist of Maryland-based Social & Scientific Systems Inc. and first author on the paper. "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."