Though More Americans Successfully Manage Diabetes, Latinos, Blacks Still Lacking

Middle aged man pokes finger to check glucose levels

Among others, three measures of good diabetes management are average blood sugar, or A1c, blood pressure and cholesterol levels, considered the ABCs of diabetes.

About 20 years ago, only 2 percent of people with any type of diabetes met or exceeded these measures of good diabetes management. By 2010, that number had risen to 19 percent, according to new government research. The study was published online in Diabetes Care.

When each of these measures was looked at independently, more than half of those in the study m
et individual measures. But, fewer than one in five achieved all three goals.

The hemoglobin A1C is an estimate of blood sugar levels over the past three months. Expressed as a percentage, the American Diabetes Association generally recommends that people with diabetes aim for an A1C of less than 7 percent.

The association advises that people with diabetes should have blood pressure of 130/80 or less. For people with diabetes, the association advises LDL, also known as “bad” cholesterol, levels be below 100.

It’s important to keep these measures as close to the recommended goals as possible to avoid serious complications, such as heart disease, kidney failure and vision problems.

Of the 5,000 people surveyed, no one proclaimed a certain type of diabetes but all were older than 20 years old. Though the group as a whole increased their care by 17 percent, some groups fared worse than others.

Young people and Mexican-Americans were least likely to meet their blood sugar goals. Forty-four percent of Mexican-Americans made their blood sugar goals in 2010, compared to 53 percent of whites and Blacks. Just 49 percent of young people (aged 20 to 49) made their blood sugar goals, while 58 percent of people over 65 did.

About 48 percent of Latinos and Mexican-Americans met the blood pressure goal, according to the study.

On cholesterol levels, 45 percent of Mexican-Americans and 48 percent of Blacks and Latinos met the goal.

After reviewing this study, the necessity to reach out to more members of the Black and Latino communities seems more apparent than before.