Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Diabetic Employees Need More Education and Preventative Care in the Workplace

In 2005, there were 20.8 million Americans or (7% of the population) diagnosed with diabetes. An additional 41 million Americans have a high risk for developing type 2 diabetes—a condition known as pre-diabetes. People with pre-diabetes have impaired fasting glucose (IFG) or impaired glucose tolerance (IGT). A staggering 1.5 million new cases of diabetes were diagnosed in just 2005! Diabetes at work (a CDC partner) http://diabetesatwork.org/ reports diabetes:

  • Total costs (direct and indirect): $132 billion
  • Direct medical costs: $92 billion
  • Indirect costs: $40 billion (disability, work loss, premature death)
  • Average health care costs per year are more than 5 times the cost of a person without diabetes: $13,243 for a person with diabetes vs. $2,560 for a person without diabetes

This information makes it imperative for employers to help employees manage their diabetes and take steps toward reducing risks for related complications, such as heart disease, kidney disease, blindness and stroke. The CDC http://cdc.gov/diabetes suggests five key areas to focus on:

Glucose control
Studies in the United States and abroad have found that improved glycemic control benefits people with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes. In general, every percentage point drop in A1C blood test results (e.g., from 8% to 7%) reduces the risk of micro vascular complications (eye, kidney, and nerve diseases) by 40%.

Blood pressure control
Blood pressure control reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease (heart disease or stroke) among persons with diabetes by 33% to 50%, and the risk of micro vascular complications (eye, kidney, and nerve diseases) by approximately 33%.
In general, for every 10 mm Hg reduction in systolic blood pressure, the risk for any complication related to diabetes is reduced by 12%.

Control of blood lipids
Improved control of cholesterol or blood lipids (for example, HDL, LDL, and triglycerides) can reduce cardiovascular complications by 20% to 50%.

Preventive care practices for eyes, kidneys, and feet
Detecting and treating diabetic eye disease can reduce the development of severe vision loss by an estimated 50% to 60%.
Comprehensive foot care programs can reduce amputation rates by 45% to 85%.

Weight Management
Diet and exercise for individuals that achieves a 5- to 7% weight loss can reduce diabetes incidence by 58%.

It is time for all employers and businesses to be aware and educated about the dangers and preventative measures they can take to help their employees be more in control of their diabetes or pre diabetic condition. Once again preventative care begins with early education and helping employees achieve more healthy lifestyle changes!

1 comment:

Mike Craycraft said...

Employers could offer a hemoglobin A1c contest to their employees. FDA-Approved Hemoglobin A1c tests can be purchased by the employees from online home health screening companies (no cost to the employer). They can test themselves at baseline and at 3 or 6 months and the one who drops the most percentage points could win a small prize like a lunch of their choice or a new glucose monitor.