A recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that between 1990 and 2010, the risk of complications from diabetes, such as heart attack, stroke and amputation, has markedly decreased and a diabetes educator says some credit goes to increased education.
“Diabetes care is 98 percent self management, so the more someone learns how to make daily decisions, the more they are empowered to make healthier choices,” Marie Frazzitta, DNP, director of diabetes education for the North Shore-LIJ Health System said. “With the increase in education, there’s a strong association with a decrease in risk.”
According to the NEJM study, the incidence of heart attack decreased the most, going down about 68 percent; the rate of strokes went down about 53 percent and amputations decreased about 51 percent during that timeframe. This is despite the number of American adults being diagnosed with diabetes more than tripling to 20.7 million people, the journal article said.
Dr. Frazzitta said it’s important for people with diabetes to perform a daily foot exam with a mirror so they can view the hard-to-reach points and to have a yearly kidney screening to help maintain their health. Each person with diabetes should also be aware of and regularly get checks of their hemoglobin A1c level, blood glucose and cholesterol. Actively monitoring these areas will help prevent complications from diabetes, Dr. Frazzitta said.
For those interested in learning more about diabetes can call the North Shore-LIJ Diabetes Wellness Program at 1-855-364-6257 or e-mail [email protected].