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Just in time for National Diabetes Month, there is new data from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III) which shows that more than half of people with type 2 diabetes in the United States have unacceptably high blood sugar levels, putting them at increased risk for serious diabetes-related complications.
"Fewer than half (44.6 percent) of people with type 2 diabetes in this national study had [HbA1c] levels of less than 7%," says Dr. Charles M. Clark, Jr., chairman of the National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP)'s Steering Committee. The NDEP is a joint program of the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Even more disturbing is that 37 percent of people with type 2 diabetes had HbA1c values greater than 8%...the levels at which the [American Diabetes Association] recommends that patients work with their health care providers to intensify their treatment to improve blood sugar levels."
The NHANES III survey also found that more African American women (50 percent) and Mexican American men (45 percent) had HbA1c levels above 8%.
The NDEP's "Control Your Diabetes, For Life" campaign recommends that people with diabetes eat healthy food in the right amounts, get regular physical activity, take prescribed medications, test their blood sugar levels regularly and get an HbA1c test at least twice a year.
To help people with diabetes control their disease, the NDEP is offering a free booklet entitled "7 Principles for Controlling Your Diabetes For Life." The booklet provides patients with checklists and questions to ask their health care providers about diabetes care.
You can order the booklet by calling (800) 438-5383 or by visiting the NDEP's Web site at cdc.gov/diabetes.