The American Medical Association (AMA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced the launch of their joint initiative, Prevent Diabetes STAT today. The incidence of diabetes is rising at an alarming rate, with nearly 90% of the 86 million Americans living with prediabetes unaware they have it.
Dr. Linda Girgis, MD echos this urgency, saying “There are many people out there who are diabetic that we have just not diagnosed yet. Diabetes, as a natural course of its progression, gives rise to complications the longer a patient has it. For example, changes in the eye and kidney can take place within 5 years of onset of the disease. That is why it is imperative to diagnosis diabetes early.”
“It’s time that the nation comes together to take immediate action to help prevent diabetes before it starts,” said AMA President Robert M. Wah, M.D. “Type 2 diabetes is one of our nation’s leading causes of suffering and death—with one out of three people at risk of developing the disease in their lifetime. To address and reverse this alarming national trend, America needs frontline physicians and other health care professionals as well as key stakeholders such as employers, insurers, and community organizations to mobilize and create stronger linkages between the care delivery system, our communities and the patients we serve.”
“The time to act is now. We need a national, concerted effort to prevent additional cases of type 2 diabetes in our nation – and we need it now,” said Ann Albright, Ph.D., R.D., director of CDC’s Division of Diabetes Translation. “We have the scientific evidence and we’ve built the infrastructure to do something about it, but far too few people know they have prediabetes and that they can take action to prevent or delay developing type 2 diabetes.”
Girgis, a family physician in South River, New Jersey, shared that 20-30% of her patients are diabetic or prediabetic, putting them at a much greater risk of heart and kidney disease. Research shows that the progression of the disease can be slowed if action is taken in the prediabetic stage.
The AMA and CDC have co-developed a toolkit that includes information on screening high-risk patients, engaging them (including resources you can share with them), referral forms and documents about how to integrate these into their practices. There are also resources for patients to help them know the risk factors and determine their own risk for type 2 diabetes at www.preventdiabetesstat.org.
Other resources available from the CDC and AMA are the National Diabetes Prevention Program (National DPP) and the Improving Health Outcomes initiative respectively.
“Our health care system simply cannot sustain the continued increases in the number of people developing diabetes.” said Dr. Albright. “Screening, testing and referring people at risk for type 2 diabetes to evidence-based lifestyle change programs are critical to preventing or delaying new cases of type 2 diabetes.”
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