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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

South Carolina: Study Examines Connection between Access to Healthcare and Glycemic Control among Youth and Young Adults with Diabetes in South Carolina

Recent research led by professor of epidemiology Dr.Angela Liese, University of South Carolina Arnold School of Public Health, has shed light on factors that influence optimal glycemic control for youth and young adults with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. The study, which was published in Pediatric Diabetes, found that having health insurance coverage, the type of coverage, and having a healthcare provider were all factors associated with hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) — a measure that reveals the average level of blood sugar for the past two to three months and helps predict risk of future complications. The authors did not find an association between HbA1c and type of or distance to healthcare provider among participants with a healthcare provider.

“Regular interactions with healthcare providers are necessary components of lifelong disease self-management for individuals diagnosed with type 1 or type 2 diabetes,” says Dr. Liese. “Previous studies have demonstrated the need for both patient-initiated and provider-initiated interactions in order to achieve optimal glycemic control — which is the hallmark of diabetes management and the key to reducing the risk of chronic complications, such as kidney disease, neuropathy, retinopathy and cardiovascular disease, and preventing premature mortality.”

Diabetes self-management includes regular healthcare visits and frequent blood testing for HbA1c levels. Prescriptions for insulin and oral diabetes medications as well as glucose monitoring supplies add to the costs faced by patients and their families.

Data from 2001 to 2005 indicates that 55.6 percent of youth and young adults with type 1 diabetes and 46 percent of those with type 2 diabetes did not achieve optimal glycemic control.

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