For the nearly 26 million people with diabetes in this country, the ABCs of reducing their risk of related illnesses, such as heart disease and kidney problems, involve three broad goals. Those goals are:
- A. Hemoglobin A1c (A1C), a blood test that shows a three-month average blood sugar level
- B. Blood pressure control
- C. LDL “bad” cholesterol levels
A recent analysis in the journal Diabetes Care, found that while there have been significant improvements “achieving the ABC goals remains suboptimal among adults with diabetes.”
In fact, the analysis of federal health data found that only 18.8 percent of adults with diabetes achieved all three goals, although between 50 and 60 percent achieved each of the three individual goals.
“There are many reasons that patients with type 2 diabetes do not achieve the ABC goals,” says endocrinologist Serge Jabbour, MD, FACP, FACE, director of the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes & Metabolic Diseases at Jefferson.
Cost and insurance coverage are major factors, Dr. Jabbour says, because to achieve all three of the goals, patients often must be on multiple medications and patients often must pay significant amounts out-of-pocket.
“Many patients will stop some of their medications due to financial reasons,” he says.
Moreover, for those who have had diabetes for many years, especially for those who require insulin, achieving the A1C goal is challenging, particularly with the risk of hypoglycemia or low blood sugar, Dr. Jabbour notes.
Finally there is the need for better diabetes education, he says.
“Diabetes management requires a team approach. It is not enough for a practitioner to prescribe drugs; the patient has to be compliant, and educated regarding diabetes through attending classes offered by certified diabetes educators and/or dieticians,” he says. “Without education and changes in lifestyle (diet and exercise), medications will not give an optimal result.”
The Jefferson Diabetes Center
The Jefferson Diabetes Center offers a multidisciplinary approach to diabetes care in coordination with your primary care provider. In addition to providing state-of-the-art treatment and technology for patients, the Center is active in diabetes research with extensive experience in both federally funded and industry–sponsored clinical trials.
The Center is unique in the area of educational classes, and patients interested in significant weight loss can also join our Comprehensive Weight Management Program.