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Diabetes Self-Care Improves Slowly, U.S. Report Finds

including vision problems and kidney disease.

According to the report, the primary goals for diabetes care include:

  • Hemoglobin A1C of 7 percent or less
  • Blood pressure of less than 130/80 mm Hg
  • LDL cholesterol levels below 100 milligrams per deciliter
  • No tobacco use

The current report, published in the April 25 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, includes data from more than 100,000 adults who reported a diabetes diagnosis by a health care professional. The data was from two nationally representative studies, but neither study broke its information down by diabetes type.

"We've always been so focused on [blood sugar], but the key for anybody with diabetes is comprehensive control of risk factors. So don't forget your blood pressure. Don't forget your cholesterol. Don't smoke. These are the things, along with [blood sugar], that are really going to improve your quality of life," said Ali.

Between 33 percent and 49 percent of people with diabetes were not meeting their targets for blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol control, the report found.

Dr. Graham McMahon, co-author of an accompanying journal editorial and a diabetes specialist at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, finds the figures disappointing.

"I think these results show slower than anticipated progress in meeting diabetes goals," he said.

McMahon thinks changes are needed in the way diabetes is managed and reimbursed.

"Clinicians should be given credits for improvements toward a goal," he explained. "You want to have a combination of factors that acknowledge the difficulty and complexity of engaging patients in self-care."

The best way for diabetes care providers to promote patients' self-care is to partner with them, he said. This includes exploring and dismantling the obstacles the patient experiences, noted McMahon.

"Diabetes can be all-consuming for a patie

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