Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Retrospective #227: “One in 10 American Adults is Diabetic…”

“One in 10 American Adults is Diabetic; 1 in 4 is Unaware,” is the full title of this 2014 story in DiabetesinControl.com. The subtitle is “The United States has 3 million more diabetic patients today than in 2010.” These shocking headlines are all too familiar, especially to the growing at-risk segment of the population, but is there any new news here?
“According to the 2014 National Diabetes Statistics Report, released by the Centers for Disease Control, at least 29 million people living in the U.S. have diabetes; 28% of these patients are undiagnosed. In a study done from 2009 to 2012, 37% of adults in the U. S. were considered pre-diabetic based on fasting glucose and A1c levels. This equates to 86 million Americans who will become diabetic if something doesn’t change.”  Of the pre-diabetics, only 7% know it.
“…if something doesn’t change.” Hmmm… So, what does the medical and public health establishment propose to do?
“Therefore, the American College of Cardiology (ACC,) in collaboration with the American Diabetes Association, the American College of Physicians and Joslin Diabetes Center, has announced a partnership to launch a new Diabetes Collaborative Registry that will help practitioners work together to track and improve the quality of care across the continuum.” In other words, close ranks, collect data, and hope, by studying the data, to improve patient outcomes…
So, who’s funding this new registry of patients? You guessed it, a drug company. AstraZeneca, in 2014, makers of Byetta, Bydureon, Onglyza, and other pharmacotherapies, like Crestor, for diabetes and related co-morbidities (CVD). The goal: to “allow primary care physicians and specialists who treat patients with diabetes to compare data and real-time metrics on patients in all stages of the disease.” Access to electronic medical records; that’s doing something?
The president and CEO of the Joslin Diabetes Center summed it up nicely. He said, the “center is pleased to be a founding partner of the first clinical diabetes registry. Not only will patients benefit with a registry of this kind; so will diabetes researchers who will gain access to numerous data from a variety of specialists. This will ensure that research is based on the most current data out there.” Did you miss how the patient will benefit?  I did too. He doesn’t say.
But maybe the ACC guy does. The ACC president “believes there is a clear need for cross-specialty management of diabetes patients especially because cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death for diabetic patients,” per the Diabetes in Control piece. True enough. The ACC is a stakeholder in gaining access to your electronic medical records.
Maybe the American Diabetes Association will tell us how the patient will benefit – how something will change to prevent or deter or just slow down the rate at which, as the CDC predicts, “if we do nothing, and the numbers continue to rise, 1 in 5 Americans will have diabetes by 2025, and possibly 1 in 3 by 2050.”
Well, here’s what the ADA’s Chief Scientific and Medical Officer told Diabetes in Control: “Diabetes is not one disease but a complex set of diseases and too often leads to serious and potentially life-threatening complications, such as cardiovascular and kidney disease, as well as nerve damage, amputation, blindness and a multitude of other health problems. We hope that a cross-specialty, clinical registry will ultimately allow us to improve the quality of care – and therefore quality of life – for all people living with diabetes by giving researchers a clearer picture of what’s happening to patients at various stages of their disease. Improved data collection should help us to improve patient outcomes.”
Well, there you have it. Everyone wants to sit back and let researchers study the data “to get a clearer picture of what’s happening to patients at various stages of their disease,” like 86 million guinea pigs in one giant research lab. The American College of Cardiology, the American Diabetes Association, the American College of Physicians and Joslin Diabetes Center are all too hobbled by their vested interest in, and dependence on, pharmacotherapy!  Do they have any interest in, or curiosity about, a proven therapy that doesn’t involve drugs? Like a low-carb diet, for example?
I’ve given up on our government “doing something.” The purpose of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is to promote American agricultural and the food processing and manufacturing industries. They are the ones who ordain what we eat; the USDA writes the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The fox is in charge of the henhouse. 

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