Doctors urge testing during National Diabetes Month

Doctors urge testing during National Diabetes Month
Wednesday, November 9, 2011 - 4:02pm

November is National Diabetes Month, and UnitedHealth Group is urging Americans to say “NOT ME” to type 2 diabetes by knowing their numbers and getting tested for blood glucose, cholesterol and blood-pressure levels.

These indicators – along with other factors including age, inactive lifestyle and family history – may serve as warning signs for people who are at risk for pre-diabetes or diabetes and that it is time to take action to prevent the disease. For people with diabetes, the careful monitoring of these factors can help them better control their condition and reduce the risk of developing serious complications related to the disease.

“There is power in information, and knowing your numbers is the first, all-important step in learning whether you might be at risk for pre-diabetes or diabetes and saying ‘NOT ME’ to these conditions,” said Deneen Vojta, M.D., executive vice president and chief clinical officer of the UnitedHealth Group Diabetes Prevention and Control Alliance (DPCA). “UnitedHealth Group is helping people prevent and control diabetes so they can focus on leading healthier and more productive lives.”

According to a report from the UnitedHealth Center for Health Reform & Modernization, if current trends continue, more than half of the nation’s adult population will have diabetes or pre-diabetes by 2020.

The impact of the diabetes epidemic in terms of both individual health outcomes and strained financial resources cannot be overstated. The disease has major implications for the long-term sustainability of the U.S. health care system; in 2010 diabetes cost the country an estimated $194 billion. If current trends continue, diabetes will account for an estimated 10 percent of total health care spending, or almost $500 billion a year.

The good news about our nation’s diabetes epidemic is that indisputable evidence has shown that early and aggressive intervention can reverse the disease’s course for people with pre-diabetes and reduce its devastating impact on people already diagnosed. Lifestyle changes and a 5- to 7-percent weight reduction can reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 58 percent in people with pre-diabetes.

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