CDC: 1 in 5 Young Diabetics Lack Sufficient Care

February 9, 2015
Krystle Vermes

Although the American Diabetes Association recommends that adult patients with diagnosed diabetes visit a health care professional biannually to achieve and maintain glycemic control, a recent report from the National Center for Health Statistics in the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that 1 in 5 younger diabetics have not done so in the past 6 months.

Although the American Diabetes Association recommends that adult patients with diagnosed diabetes visit a health care professional biannually to achieve and maintain glycemic control, a recent report from the National Center for Health Statistics in the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that 1 in 5 younger diabetics have not done so in the past 6 months.

The CDC report also found that diabetics aged 18 to 39 years were the least likely adult age group to have undergone blood pressure and cholesterol checks by a health care professional within the past year.

"Ongoing medical care is recommended for persons of any age who have diabetes in order to manage levels of glucose, obtain preventive care services, and treat diabetes-related complications," the CDC researchers wrote. “…Ongoing risk-reduction medical care services for persons with diabetes may favorably impact health outcomes and quality of life in later years.”

Using data from the 2013 National Health Interview Survey, the investigators determined that 19% of diabetics aged 18 to 39 years had not had contact with a health care professional in the past 6 months, compared with 11% of those aged 40 to 64 years, and only 7% of those aged 65 years and older.

In addition, 89.9% of diabetics aged 18 to 39 years had their blood pressure checked by a health professional in the past 12 months, compared with 95% of those aged 40 to 64 years, and 97.4% of adults aged 65 years and older. Likewise, the percentage of diabetic adults who had contact with an eye or foot care specialist in the past 12 months gradually increased with age.

“Retinal damage and nerve damage to the feet are diabetes-related complications that contribute to major morbidity and disability among adults with diabetes, and they are conditions for which annual or biannual examinations may help identify signs of risk and guide early treatment,” the CDC researchers wrote.