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Heart disease drops among adult diabetics

From 1997 to 2005, the percentage of U.S. diabetics, 35 years of age or older, with self-reported heart disease decreased by 11 percent, according to findings released Thursday in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
/ Source: Reuters

From 1997 to 2005, the percentage of U.S. diabetics 35 years of age or older with self-reported heart disease decreased by 11 percent, according to findings released Thursday in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Furthermore, the results of an accompanying report indicate another encouraging trend; the percentage of diabetics who check their blood sugar at least once per day has risen in recent years and now exceeds the 61 percent rate set by the Healthy People 2010 national objective.

The findings of both studies, which were conducted by researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, were released to coincide with November's designation as National Diabetes Awareness Month. November 14 has been declared World Diabetes Day and the focus of this year's campaign is to raise awareness about the impact that diabetes has on pediatric patients.

"Cardiovascular disease (which includes heart disease and stroke) is not only the leading cause of death for Americans, it is also the greatest killer of adults with diabetes," lead author Nilka Burrows, from the CDC's Division of Diabetes Translation, said in a statement. "While the trends in this report are very encouraging, it is important that we continue to take steps to help prevent and control diabetes, which will also aid in the fight against cardiovascular disease."

The cardiovascular disease findings come from an analysis of data from the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS).

The drop in self-reported cardiovascular disease was especially large for certain patient subgroups. In blacks, the rate of cardiovascular disease fell from 36.3 percent in 1997 to 27.1 percent in 2005. In diabetics between 35 and 64 years of age, the rate decreased from 31.1 percent in 1997 to 26.7 percent in 2005.

The second study involved an analysis of data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) for 1997 to 2006. During the study period, the rate of self-monitoring of blood sugar climbed from 40.6 to 63.4 percent, which, as noted, exceeds the Healthy People 2010 target.

Predictors of performing self-monitoring of glucose levels included female gender, high school or higher educational level, having health insurance, using intensive diabetes therapy, making more physician visits, and participating in a diabetes education course.