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Diabetes Hospitalization Rates Falling in US, CDC Says
Posted: Tuesday, June 28, 2005
Americans with diabetes are less likely to need hospitalization for serious complications such as kidney failure than they were a decade ago, according to new research from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"We now have many good treatments and interventions for diabetes. The question is, are we delivering them where they will make a difference?" Dr. Michael Engelgau, associate director for prevention policy at the CDC's division of diabetes translation.
The CDC hospitalization study looked at the incidence of complications including uncontrolled diabetes that would lead to an emergency room visit, kidney failure and surgery for limb amputation.
The number of U.S. diabetes-related hospitalizations actually rose slightly over the 8-year period, but that was against a backdrop of a dramatic increase in the incidence of diabetes. The cost of the hospitalizations more than doubled over the same period to $9.5 billion, the study found.
Today, about 8 percent of Americans suffer from diabetes, a rate that is up between 30 percent and 50 percent from 10 years ago, Engelgau said.
A separate CDC study found that the rate of kidney failure in diabetes patients peaked in 1996 and has fallen about 30 percent since then, despite the increasing prevalence of the disease in the United States.
"Persons with diabetes now are less sick than persons with diabetes 10 years ago. This is a promising trend toward a true reversal of this complication," said Nilka Rios Burrows, a CDC epidemiologist and the study's lead investigator. She said new medications to control blood sugar and hypertension are the biggest reason behind the drop in diabetes-related kidney failure.
The researchers said an exact cause for the improving complication rates is uncertain, but they said patients are more educated about the disease and doctors are more likely to diagnose it.
Engelgau said about 30 percent of diabetes cases go undiagnosed today, down from 50 percent 15 years ago. "More effort to find diabetes and get good treatment means that it is detected at an earlier stage so the patient is younger and not as sick," he said. Engelgau also said efforts by health care systems to reduce hospitalizations may also be playing a role.
Source: Diabetes In Control.com
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