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1997 Diabetes Highlights

Highlights from the 1997 meeting of the American Diabetes Association.

Other Highlights

National Diabetes Education Program is Launched to Heighten Disease Awareness

June 22, 1997, Boston, MA. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) of the National Institutes of Health together with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have announced that they are jointly sponsoring the development of the National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP). The NDEP Executive Committee presented this program at a press briefing at the American Diabetes Association annual meeting today. Committee members include Charles Clark Jr., MD, Chairman of NDEP Steering Committee, Richard Eastman, MD, Director, Division of Diabetes, Endocrinology, and Metabolic Diseases NIDDK, NIH, and Frank Vinicor, MD, Director, Division of Diabetes Translation, CDC.

The goal of the NDEP is to reduce the illness and numbers of deaths associated with diabetes and its complications, and to raise the same awareness for diabetes as has been done for hypertension and cholesterol in the past. Since public awareness about diabetes is very low, the first goal of the NDEP is to inform patients with diabetes as well as the general public about its complications and to stress that diabetes is a serious, common, and costly disease, yet it is controllable.

Diabetes is one of the most serious health problems in the United States, and it is one of the six leading causes of death and disability. It affects an estimated 16 million Americans, half of whom have not yet been diagnosed. Only 8% of Americans think that diabetes is a serious disease. According to Frank Vinicor, "Diabetes is the Rodney Dangerfield of diseases; it just doesn't get respect."

High blood sugar is associated with the problems of diabetes, which include poor circulation that leads to kidney and heart disease, vision problems and infections in the feet that often lead to amputations. New scientific evidence confirms that diet, exercise, and medication can help to keep blood sugar levels in a desirable range and therefore, can slow the progress of the severe consequences of diabetes.

The Diabetes Control and Complications trial (DCCT), the 1993 landmark study, demonstrated that improving blood glucose control can delay the onset and progression of diabetes complications affecting eyes, kidneys and nerves. New medications are available to lower blood glucose, and methods for measuring glucose levels have greatly improved. Therefore, anyone diagnosed with diabetes should be able to control its consequences through a close partnership with their doctor.

A full report of the NDEP will be available in the fall of 1997. By the end of the summer of 1997, NDEP will have a homepage on the web at


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Last modified on Sunday, 13-Jul-97 15:27:23.

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