Features May 2013 Issue

Risk Factor Control Needs More Attention in Diabetes Patients

While studies show blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol management is getting better, there is still much room for improvement.

Living with diabetes means being especially mindful, not just of your blood glucose levels, but of your blood pressure and cholesterol, too. And while research suggests that patients are doing a better job in those areas, it appears that fewer than one in five individuals with diabetes are actually reaching all three targets.

In a study published in the Feb. 15 issue of Diabetes Care, researchers found that blood glucose control was being achieved by more than 52 percent of patients with diabetes between 2007 and 2010, up from just 44 percent in 1999 to 2002. Blood pressure control was achieved by about 51 percent of diabetes patients from 2007 to 2010, also up from 44 percent in 1999 to 2002. Cholesterol control saw similar improvements in recent years, with a little more than half of the diabetes patients in the study taking statins.

But the research, conducted by the National Institutes of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, found that only 18.8 percent of patients achieved all three goals, known as the “ABC” goals: HbA1c (blood sugar), Blood pressure and Cholesterol.

The report states: “As the U.S. population ages and diabetes prevalence increases, it becomes increasingly urgent to find ways to overcome barriers to good diabetes management and deliver affordable, quality care so those with diabetes can live a longer and healthier life without serious diabetes complications.”

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