February 03, 2015
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Health care utilization among adults diagnosed with diabetes differs by age

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The use of selected medical care services recommended for adults diagnosed with diabetes to manage glucose, obtain preventative care and treat complications varies by age, according to a report released by the CDC.

Data from the 2013 National Health Interview Survey, conducted continuously throughout the year by the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), showed differences in provider and specialist visits, medication use and blood pressure and cholesterol assessments.

Maria A. Villarroel, PhD, and colleagues from the NCHS looked at a sample audit, which gathered additional detailed health information, involving 34,525 people aged at least 18 years; 3,589 had been diagnosed with diabetes and were included in the analysis.

Of the 9.3% of the U.S. population at least 18 years old who have received a diabetes diagnosis, more than 8 in 10 saw a health care professional in the past 6 months.

Diabetes diagnoses increased with age — 2% of the population aged 18 to 39 years, followed by 11% aged 40 to 64 years and 21% aged 65 years and older — as did the percentage who had contact with a health care professional in the past 6 months.

The proportion of adults with diagnosed diabetes taking any glucose-control therapies increased with age; 28.8% aged 18 to 39 years were not taking any medication compared with 14.3% aged 40 to 64 years and 13.5% aged 65 years and older.

Similarly, the percentage of adults who visited an eye or foot care specialists in the past 12 months increased with age. The rates for eye and foot specialist visits among those aged 18 to 39 years were, respectively, 35.9% and 11.1%, compared with 54.3% and 18.7% among those aged 40 to 64 years and 64.9% and 28% among those aged 65 years and older.

Diagnosed adults aged 18 to 39 years were the least likely to have blood pressure (89.9%) and cholesterol (71.9%) checks with a health care professional during the past 12 months compared with those aged 40 to 64 (95% and 91.4%, respectively) and those aged 65 years and older (97.4% and 95.7%, respectively).

Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.