November 2, 2001
As Diabetes Epidemic Surges, HHS and ADA Join Forces to Fight
Heart Disease, the Leading Cause of Death for People With Diabetes
New Consumer Campaign Targets Blood Glucose, Pressure, Cholesterol.
A new emphasis on treating diabetes comprehensively -- that is, managing not only blood glucose, but also blood
pressure, and cholesterol -- could save lives, according to the U.S.
Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the National Diabetes
Education Program (NDEP) and the American Diabetes Association (ADA). NDEP
is co- sponsored by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and
Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Marking November as National Diabetes Month, HHS and its partners are
joining forces to inform the public that good diabetes management is more
than lowering blood glucose. Control of blood pressure and cholesterol is
crucial to help prevent heart disease and stroke, the leading killers of
people with diabetes. New guidelines for blood pressure and LDL cholesterol
in people with diabetes are lower than for the general population and
similar to those for people with known heart disease. This new public
awareness campaign comes in response to new studies that show a dramatic
link between diabetes and heart disease. Research now shows that people with
diabetes can live longer and healthier lives with relatively small decreases
in blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol.
"With 16 million people and counting, diabetes is growing at an alarming
rate in America," said HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson. "Diabetes has
increased 49% from 1990 to 2000 and projections indicate a 165% increase by
the year 2050. If you have diabetes, you are at a very high risk for heart
attack and stroke. But you can take control and lower your risk with this
new treatment approach."
To communicate the importance of comprehensive care in simple language, the
"ABCs of Diabetes" have been developed. The A stands for the A1C (A-one-
see), or hemoglobin A1C test, which measures average blood glucose (sugar)
over the previous 3 months. B is for blood pressure, and C is for
cholesterol. This approach was developed because the vast majority of people
with diabetes don't know that they are at very high risk of cardiovascular
disease and that this risk can be greatly reduced with appropriate
treatment. Research shows that 75 percent of people with diabetes die from
heart disease and stroke, and they die younger than the general population.
"The American Diabetes Association is delighted to support NDEP in getting
the word out about the 'ABCs of Diabetes," said Dr. John Buse, Chair of the
Association's Cardiovascular Initiative, entitled "Make the Link." "The ABCs
of Diabetes is a clear message for both patients and healthcare providers
that it's not just glucose that matters if you want to help prevent heart
disease and stroke."
"People with diabetes know how important it is to control their blood
glucose, but too little attention is paid to the role of cholesterol and
blood pressure," said Allen M. Spiegel, M.D., NDEP spokesperson and director
of the NIDDK at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). "Research shows
that this new approach, aggressively treating these three risk factors, can
* A1C - less than 7 percent. Check at least twice a year.
* Blood pressure - below 130/80. Check at every doctor's visit.
* Cholesterol (LDL) - below 100. Check at least once a year.
Questions To Ask
* What are my A1C, blood pressure, and cholesterol numbers?
* What are my treatment goals?
* What do I need to do to reach and maintain my goals?
The same steps needed to control blood glucose work for controlling blood
pressure and cholesterol: stay at a healthy weight; follow a healthy diet;
get daily physical activity; don't smoke; and take prescribed medications.
NDEP and ADA have developed a new tool: a new brochure for people with
diabetes that provides essential information and has a wallet card to help
them track their ABC numbers. It's free, and part of a new, national public
education campaign, Be Smart About Your Heart: Control the ABCs of Diabetes.
To get the new brochure and the free wallet card and to learn more about
diabetes, call 1-800-438-5383 or visit NDEP's Web site at http://ndep.nih.gov/
or contact the ADA at 1-800-DIABETES (1-800-342-2383) or visit http://www.diabetes.org/makethelink
The National Diabetes Education Program is jointly sponsored by NIH and the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and 200 public and private
The American Diabetes Association is the nation's leading voluntary health
organization supporting diabetes research, information and advocacy. Founded
in 1940, the ADA has offices in every region of the country, providing
services to more than 800 communities.