Most diabetics have poor control over their condition

The vast majority of individuals with type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes in the U.S. as well as around the world receive ineffective care and do a poor job of managing their condition, which increases their risk of developing cardiovascular complications and dying early, according to a new report from University of Washington researchers.

The report puts most of the blame for the poor state of diabetes care on the medical community. Its authors say that doctors do often provide inaccurate diagnoses. When patients are correctly identified with the condition, treatment strategies are often insufficient.

For the study, which appeared in the latest issue of the Bulletin of the World Health Organization, researchers gathered information on hundreds of thousands of diabetics from the U.S., Canada, UK, Thailand, Iran, Mexico and Scotland. The results of the surveys provided some grim pictures.

More than 90 percent of adult diabetics in the U.S. have high blood sugar, blood pressure or cholesterol. That number jumps to 99 percent in Mexico. Up to 62 percent of diabetic men in Thailand are undiagnosed. Fewer than 12 percent of individuals in all countries studied met the International Diabetes Federation's goals for blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol.

"Too many people are not being properly diagnosed with diabetes and related cardiovascular risk factors," said Dr. Stephen Lim, one of the study's co-authors and an associate professor of the Global Health at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at Washington State. "Those who are diagnosed aren't being effectively treated. This is a huge missed opportunity to lower the burden of disease in both rich and poor countries."

He added that the findings should inspire more countries to begin collecting more data that could be used as part of public health efforts to stem the rising tide of type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes.
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