Keeping diabetes under control is still elusive for many Americans
Research Activities, July 2009, No. 347
Only slightly more than half of the 18 million Americans diagnosed with diabetes had their blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure under optimum control in 2006, according to the latest data from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Overall, about 55 percent of American adults with diabetes had their blood sugar and total cholesterol levels under control, and about 59 percent had their blood pressure under control. Failure to properly manage diabetes can increase the risk of complications such as heart attack and stroke. Diabetes is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, with $116 billion spent on medical care for people with the disease, according to AHRQ's recently released 2008 National Healthcare Disparities Report. The report also indicates that another 6 million Americans may have diabetes but don't know it.
In addition, the report shows that:
- In 2006, just 43 percent of blacks and 38 percent of Mexican-Americans with diabetes had their blood sugar levels under control, compared with 61 percent of non-Hispanic whites with diabetes.
- From 2002 to 2006, the percentage of people with diabetes who had their blood pressure under control improved for blacks, from 39 percent to 58 percent, and for Mexican-Americans, from 49 percent to 67 percent. By 2006, there were no significant differences in blood pressure control among blacks, Mexican-Americans, and non-Hispanic whites with diabetes.
These data come from the 2008 National Healthcare Disparities Report, which examines the disparities in Americans' access to and quality of health care, with breakdowns by race, ethnicity, income, and education. The report is available at .