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Blood sugar control among U.S. adults with diabetes has dropped: study

Blood sugar monitor
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Baltimore — The percentage of U.S. adults with diabetes who have achieved blood sugar – or “glycemic” – control has “declined significantly” over the past decade, according to researchers from Johns Hopkins University.

The researchers looked at 1999-2018 data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey for nearly 6,700 people who were at least 20 years old, were not pregnant and had been diagnosed with diabetes by a doctor (outside of pregnancy).

The percentage of survey respondents who had control of their blood sugar dropped to 50.5 between 2015 and 2018 from 57.4 between 2007 and 2010 – signaling that people with one of the nation’s most prevalent chronic health conditions face ongoing challenges.


Most cases of diabetes in the United States are Type 2 diabetes, which is strongly related to diet and lifestyle factors and affects 13% of the U.S. adult population, states a Johns Hopkins press release, citing data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Diabetes increases the risks of other health problems, including heart disease, kidney disease and vision loss.

The researchers also found that the proportion of respondents who achieved blood pressure control fell to 70.4% between 2015 and 2018 from 74.2% between 2011 and 2014. In addition, the percentage of respondents who had control of bad cholesterol rose only slightly to 55.7 between 2015 and 2018 from 52.3 between 2007 and 2010, after being at just 25.3 between 1999 and 2002.

The proportion of respondents who achieved control of all three of the risk factors – blood sugar, blood pressure and bad cholesterol – dropped to 22.2% between 2015 and 2018 from 24.9% between 2017 and 2010.

“These are concerning findings,” senior study author Elizabeth Selvin, an epidemiology professor in the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins, said in the release.

The study was published online June 10 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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