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CDC: Diabetes-related office visits increase

More patients with diabetes are frequenting their doctors' offices today than a decade ago as nearly 29 million Americans battle associated health risks ranging from cardiovascular to eye diseases.

"We, as primary care providers, have an obligation to talk to our patients about primary diabetes prevention."

The findings are part of a data brief released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC's) National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) in June that indicated a 20 percent increase in office visits across all age groups of patients with diabetes between 2005 and 2010.While the volume of visits was much higher for older age groups, the largest percentage increase in office visits was among the 25 to 44 age range, measuring a 34 percent increase from 2005 to 2010.The data brief notes that diabetes was the seventh-leading cause of death domestically in 2010, and patients with diabetes have medical expenditures typically 2.3 times higher than those of patients without the condition.Those numbers were bolstered by CDC data published recently that indicates 2 in 5 Americans will develop diabetes across their lifetime. The stats mark double-digit increases in the lifetime risk of receiving a diabetes diagnosis since the late '80s.Exploring the multidisciplinary care teamA. Paul Chous, O.D., AOA representative to the National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP), says ideally outright diabetes prevention is the best course of action; however, in the face of this massive reported onset, it's important that practitioners help delay development."We, as primary care providers, have an obligation to talk to our patients about primary diabetes prevention, and if or when they are diagnosed, then we can educate them about ways in which they can prevent complications, in particular diabetes-related eye disease," Dr. Chous says.Dr. Chous encouraged ODs to seek resources offered by NDEP, such as the Working Together to Manage Diabetes: A Guide for Pharmacy, Podiatry, Optometry and Dentistry (PPOD) online guide and PPOD toolkit with information about a team care approach to diabetes management.In addition to the care resources, NDEP also will offer an hour-long PPOD webinar at 12 p.m. EDT Monday, Sept. 8. Register now to reserve a seat. According to NDEP, the webinar will:

  • Explore team care concepts;

  • Provide tips on communicating with patients;

  • Introduce strategies for collaboration and cross-disciplinary treatment in the multidisciplinary care team; and,

  • Share information about the PPOD toolkit and additional resources available.

Members also can find diabetes resources, including the AOA's first evidence-based clinical practice guideline, Eye Care of the Patient with Diabetes Mellitus, and the diabetes supplement, Optometrists Form Frontline in Battling Diabetes, on the AOA website, as well as patient information at AOA Marketplace.

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