Research from the CDC found, that in the eight years from 1994 to 2002, the rate of diabetics being admitted to the hospital for potentially preventable reasons fell by 35%. The data was presented at a meeting of the American Diabetes Association on Saturday by Dr. Michael Engelgau of the CDC.
Over 18 million Americans now have diabetes. The disease is responsible for numerous serious complications including heart disease, blindness, kidney disease, and amputations. Thus, diabetics are often admitted to the hospital for treatment of these complications as well as for the diabetes itself when it becomes uncontrolled.
Although the number of diabetes-related visits to the emergency room and admissions to the hospitals actually rose over the eight years, the dramatic rise in the number of diabetics over the same period (between 30% and 50%) caused the hospitalization rate to drop by 35%.
The CDC also found that the rate of kidney failure in diabetics has fallen by about 30% since it peaked in 1996. New medications to control blood sugar and hypertension are seen as major factors in this improvement. Diabetics are also less sick than they were in 1996 which leads many experts to believe that better treatments and interventions are having a positive effect on the way diabetes is being managed even though the number of cases of diabetes has increased dramatically in that same period of time.
Earlier and more effective detection has led to a decrease in the percentage of undiagnosed diabetics from 50% in 1990 to about 30% today and, since the disease is being discovered earlier, the patients are not as sick when intervention and treatment begins.