Although there have been improvements in achieving hemoglobin A1c (A1C), blood pressure (BP), and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (ABC) goals, control is still suboptimal for many, including minorities, according to a study published online ahead of print in Diabetes Care.

Sarah Stark Casagrande, PhD, from Social and Scientific Systems in Silver Spring, Md., and colleagues used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys from 1998 to 1994, 1999 to 2002, 2003 to 2006, and 2007 to 2010 to examine the prevalence of individuals with diabetes who meet the ABC recommendations. Participants included 4,926 adults aged 20 and older with a self-reported diagnosis of diabetes.

From 2007 to 2010, the researchers found that 18.8% achieved all three ABC goals; 52.5% achieved A1C below 7.0%, 51.1% achieved BP below 130/80 mm Hg, and 56.2% achieved LDL levels below 100 mg/dL. These were all significantly improved from 1988 to 1994 levels. Between 1988 to 1994 and 2007 to 2010, there was a significant increase in statin use (from 4.2% to 51.4%). Mexican-Americans were less likely than non-Hispanic whites to meet A1C and LDL goals and less likely than non-Hispanic blacks to meet A1C goals. Non-Hispanic blacks were less likely to meet BP and LDL goals than non-Hispanic whites. A1C and LDL goals were less likely to be met by younger individuals.

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“As the U.S. population ages and diabetes prevalence increases, it becomes increasingly urgent to find ways to overcome barriers to good diabetes management and deliver affordable, quality care so those with diabetes can live a longer and healthier life without serious diabetes complications,” the researchers wrote.