Nearly 3/10 of Americans With Diabetes Don't Know It

Many unaware diabetics had even seen a doctor in the past year, researchers report.
Many unaware diabetics had even seen a doctor in the past year, researchers report.

Almost eight million Americans have diabetes but don't know it, and that's despite the fact that about two-thirds of those with undiagnosed diabetes have seen a doctor two or more times in the past year, according to a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Researchers analyzing a national survey sample of 29,353 adults found that nearly three in 10 people with diabetes remain undiagnosed. They also discovered that 84.5 percent of those undiagnosed adults report that they have a usual health care provider. What's more, 66.5 percent said they'd had two or more visits in the past year.

The researchers also found that among those who were diagnosed, there was room for improvement in their care. Sixty-four percent of those diagnosed were meeting their blood glucose goals.

About 66 percent had controlled blood pressure (under 140/80 mm Hg). And, only 57 percent were meeting the goal of getting their LDL cholesterol under 100 mg/dL. When the authors looked at all three of those goals together, only about one-quarter (21.3 percent) were meeting their targets.

"Out of 28.4 million people with diabetes, more than a quarter don't know [it]," study author Mohammed Ali, M.B.Ch.B., an assistant professor of public health at the Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, told HealthDay.

"The fact that they go to the doctor rings alarm bells. We're missing out on a whole lot of opportunities," said Ali. "The answer isn't simple, but we need to identify where the gaps are. Is it high demand on physicians? Is it a system-wide problem? There are a lot of things that could be going on. It probably won't be just one specific thing."

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