Study Drastically Undercuts Estimates of Undiagnosed Diabetes in the US

The Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta have for quite some time told us that diabetes is running rampant among the US population, and that according to their estimates, a staggering 27.8 percent of people with the disease in the country are undiagnosed.

They might want to revisit that estimate.

Dr. Tim Holt of the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences at the University of Oxford and colleagues analyzed the electronic patient records of 11.5 million people in the United States and found a figure far different from that of the CDC.

"We were able to identify a substantial number of people with probable undiagnosed diabetes in the US based on existing biochemical evidence in their electronic records."

They found 1,174,018 people with diabetes among the cohort, and in 63,620 of them, the disease was undiagnosed.

In other words, according to their findings, the number of undiagnosed diabetes cases in the US is something closer to 5.4 percent.

"In some areas of the country, this amounted to 12.0-15.9 percent of the overall diabetes population," says Holt. "Although this is less than the 27.8 percent believed to have undiagnosed diabetes, these people were immediately identifiable through simple searches of electronic medical records from primary care practices."

In fact, the original goal of the research wasn't to undermine CDC estimates but to explore the use of electronic diabetes registers in the US for providing a better quality of care for people with diabetes.

"Wherever electronic diabetes registers are used to support the provision of care, and where blood glucose levels, HbA1c and quality-of-care data are recorded in the same system, it should be possible to identify readily (and at low cost) individuals at risk of their diabetes going undetected and those receiving suboptimal care. This applies across all nations using electronic medical records, including Canada."

Their findings were reported in the journal CMAJ Open.

Source: CMAJ Open

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