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I'm Rob Logan, Ph.D., senior staff, U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM).
Here is what's new this week in To Your Health, a consumer health oriented podcast from NLM, that helps you use MedlinePlus to follow up on weekly topics.
The estimated number of Americans with diabetes did not increase between 2008-2012 and undiagnosed diabetes may be declining, suggest a comprehensive study and editorial recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
While the national study suggests the percentage of American adults with diagnosed (as well as undiagnosed) diabetes increased from 9.8 in 1988-1994, to 12.5 percent in 2007-2008, the number of Americans with diabetes remained about 12 percent between 2008-2012. Overall, the study suggests the percentage of Americans with diabetes may have declined slightly within the last four years where comprehensive statistics are available.
The study's findings are based on the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey sponsored by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (the CDC).
The study's four authors also suggest undiagnosed diabetes declined in the U.S. from 40.3 percent in 1988-1994 to about 31 percent in 2011-2012. Similar to overall diabetes prevalence, the study found a higher percent of undiagnosed diabetes among non-Hispanic Asians, non-Hispanic blacks, and Hispanics compared to non-Hispanic white, adult Americans. In contrast, the percent of undiagnosed diabetes remained unchanged (around 40 percent) for all Americans ages 20-44.
The editorial's authors write (and we quote): 'The fact that the proportion of individuals with undiagnosed diabetes in the United States is decreasing is encouraging in that reducing the lead time between diabetes onset and clinical diagnosis, combined with prompt initiation of treatment for glycemia and cardiovascular risks factors, is likely to confer substantial health benefits' (end of quote).
The editorial's two authors note the apparent, recent plateau in the number of adults with diagnosed and undiagnosed diabetes seems to parallel findings that the percentage of obese Americans has not changed significantly since 2000. However, the editorial's authors are quick to add obese Americans doubled (from 15 to 31 percent) between 1980-2000.
The editorial's authors write (and we quote): 'The shift in cultural attitudes towards obesity, the American Medical Association's (AMA's) recognition of obesity as a disease, and the increasing focus on societal interventions to address food policy and the built environment are beginning to address some of the broad environmental forces that have contributed to the epidemic of obesity' (end of quote).
The editorial's authors suggest for diabetes' decline to persist, some current initiatives should be reinforced, such as providing insurance to cover behavioral therapies for obese Americans, and providing incentives to persons at all ages to improve eating and exercise habits.
The editorial's authors explain (and we quote): '...multifaceted approaches addressing both environmental factors and individual behaviors appear to be slowing the increase in obesity and diabetes, and facilitating the diagnosis and management of diabetes' (end of quote).
The editorial's authors conclude (and we quote): 'Progress has been made, but expanded and sustained efforts will be required' (end of quote).
Meanwhile, a snapshot of the prevalence of diabetes in the U.S. (provided by the CDC) is available within the 'start here' section of MedlinePlus.gov's diabetes health topic page.
A guide to how seniors can better manage diabetes (from the National Institute on Aging) is available within the 'seniors' section of MedlinePlus.gov's diabetes health topic page. The U.S. Joint Commission adds some good suggestions to help diabetes patients navigate better care from hospitals and clinics within the 'related issues' section of MedlinePlus.gov's diabetes health topic page.
MedlinePlus.gov's diabetes health topic page additionally provides links to the latest pertinent journal research articles, which are available in the 'journal articles' section. Links to clinical trials that may be occurring in your area are available in the 'clinical trials' section of MedlinePlus.gov's diabetes health topic page. You also can sign up to receive updates about diabetes as they become available on MedlinePlus.gov.
To find MedlinePlus.gov's diabetes health topic page please type 'diabetes' in the search box on MedlinePlus.gov's home page, then, click on 'diabetes (National Library of Medicine).' MedlinePlus.gov also has health topic pages dedicated to type 1 and type 2 diabetes, as well as 16 other health topic pages devoted to diabetes-related issues.
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