Public health experts from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Public Health Service applauded grantees of the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation and its Together on Diabetes ® initiative for their collaborative efforts to improve health outcomes and reduce disparities for people living with type 2 diabetes by strengthening patients’ ability to manage their own care with supportive community services.
During the two-day summit at Emory University, nonprofit grantees and their partners from across the United States joined diabetes experts from the U.S. government and various academic and public health institutions to discuss how communities can build, integrate and coordinate medical, non-medical and policy efforts, and expand the base of community organizations actively bringing their know-how, reach, influence and assets to the fight against type 2 diabetes.
CDC reports that 79 million Americans are pre-diabetic and at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the next 10 years. About 1.9 million new cases of diabetes are diagnosed in people age 20 and older each year. If current trends persist, as many as one in three Americans will have diabetes by 2050, CDC projects.
Nearly half of all patients who have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes do not have their disease adequately controlled through a combination of diet, physical activity and medication. Patients with uncontrolled type 2 diabetes face increased risk of complications such as cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure and stroke; damage to the nerves, eyes and kidneys; and amputation of the fingers, toes or limbs.“While CDC has reported declining rates of some of the most serious complications of diabetes, including kidney failure, amputation of feet and legs, hospitalizations and vision loss, we are not seeing these drops in all groups,” said Ann Albright, Ph.D., R.D., director of CDC’s Division of Diabetes Translation, who addressed the summit Tuesday. “Improving access to health care, including teaching people how to care for themselves if they have diabetes, is so important. So is strong community support for healthy lifestyles.”