Wednesday, 4 February 2015

1 in 5 Younger Diabetics Lacks Good Medical Care, Study Says


CDC team found 19 percent hadn't seen a doctor within last 6 months

WebMD News from HealthDay

By EJ Mundell

HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Feb. 3, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- One in every five young American adults with diabetes hasn't seen a doctor in the past 6 months, a new government report indicates.

The study, from researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, also found that those aged 18 to 39 with diabetes were much less likely than older patients to have gotten their blood pressure or cholesterol checked in the previous year.

"Ongoing medical care is recommended for persons of any age who have diabetes in order to manage levels of glucose [blood sugar], obtain preventive care services and treat diabetes-related complications," wrote the team, led by Maria Villarroel of the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS).

According to the agency, almost one in every 10 American adults (9 percent) has some form of diabetes. Most cases will be type 2, which is often linked to obesity and comprises about 95 percent of diabetes cases. The rest are type 1 disease, which often arises in childhood and occurs when the pancreas cannot produce enough insulin.

To manage diabetes, the American Diabetes Association currently recommends that people visit a doctor every 6 months to help manage fluctuating blood sugar levels. For those with unstable blood sugar, the recommendation is to meet with a doctor more frequently.

The new report looked at 2013 government health data on nearly 3,600 adults with diabetes. It found that adherence to care recommendations rose with age: 81 percent of people aged 18 to 39 had seen a health care professional over the past six months, compared to about 89 percent of those aged 40 to 64, and more than 93 percent of those aged 65 or older.

Medications such as insulin and other drugs can help manage diabetes. Again, the CDC study found that the number of patients taking a diabetes medication rose with age -- from about 71 percent of those aged 18 to 39, to 86.5 percent of those over 65.

"Retinal [eye] damage and nerve damage to the feet are diabetes-related complications that contribute to major [illness] and disability among adults with diabetes," the CDC team also noted. Twice-a-year doctor exams are recommended to spot such problems. But the research showed that young patients were much less likely to have consulted with either an eye or foot doctor over the past year, compared to older patients.

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