January 01, 2001

On the heals of a new Centers For Disease Control (CDC) study showing a striking 6% rise in diabetes rates among adults in 1999, CMRI is reminding all California Medicare beneficiaries diagnosed with diabetes to see their healthcare providers for necessary annual and biennial diabetes tests.

A similar CDC study released last year reported a 33% increase in the prevalence of diagnosed diabetes among adults between 1990-'98.

According to the CDC, California ranks 5th in the nation for age-adjusted prevalence of diagnosed diabetes -- effecting roughly 13% of the state's 4 million Medicare beneficiaries.

"The key to preventing complications such as blindness, kidney disease and heart attacks is to regularly monitor your blood sugar levels both at home and with your doctor," says Jeffery Newman, MD, Chief Medical Officer for CMRI. "Our goal is to remind the public that good diabetes care can prevent or slow the progression of complications."

CMRI is urging seniors with diabetes to make sure they receive an annual HbA1c test, biennial dilated eye exam, and biennial lipid profile test, all of which are covered under Medicare.

Key Facts about Diabetes:

-- Diabetes is the leading cause of adult blindness, kidney problems, heart disease and stroke, and foot or leg amputations.

-- Older Americans, low-income individuals, smokers, those with family history of diabetes, and overweight individuals are at greater risk for diabetes.

-- At highest risk are minority populations including American Indians, African Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, and Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

-- Each year, 170,000 Americans die of diabetes or its complications.

-- Every week, 12,000 people learn that they have diabetes.

-- Every day, 144 people with diabetes go blind.

-- Every hour, 3 people with diabetes must have a foot, ankle, or leg amputated to save their lives.

-- Every minute, 20 people with diabetes undergo kidney dialysis.

Based in San Francisco, CMRI is the federally funded Medicare peer review organization for California. Its mission is to identify opportunities to improve care, and work with providers and consumers to implement programs that affect the quality of care that patients receive. Anyone interested in receiving more information about CMRI, its diabetes education campaign or other Medicare preventive healthcare benefits can visit CMRI's web sight at http://www.cmri-ca.org.

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