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null Adults with diabetes are getting better at managing their disease

Adults with diabetes are getting better at managing their disease

For Immediate Release:  2019-06-11

Contact:  Liz Martin, (315) 671-6408

Upstate New York adults who have diabetes are better at managing their disease than they were just a few years ago, according to a review of self-reported patient data by Excellus BlueCross BlueShield.

More adults with diabetes are measuring their blood sugar daily, having an A1C blood test twice yearly, scheduling annual foot exams, getting regular exercise, taking diabetes management classes, seeing health professionals specifically for their diabetes, and even getting an annual flu shot.

“An increasing number of patients, by their own admission, are following the diabetes care recommendations from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the American Diabetes Association,” said Excellus BlueCross BlueShield Vice President and Chief Medical Officer LouAnne Giangreco, M.D.  “Unfortunately, we are seeing greater numbers of people being diagnosed with diabetes.” 

In 2017, upstate New York had approximately 440,000 adults with diabetes, a 14 percent increase from 2015, when the region had an estimated 387,000 adults with the disease. 

Diabetes is a major contributor to cardiovascular disease (heart disease and stroke), the nation’s leading killer. It also is the leading cause of kidney disease and non-traumatic lower extremity amputation.

Excellus BlueCross BlueShield’s review of the data revealed only one diabetes care recommendation that is on the decline. From 2015 to 2017, Excellus BlueCross BlueShield found a 9 percent change in the percentage of adults who had a dilated eye exam within the last year. That’s important, because diabetes is the leading cause of new blindness.

Excellus BlueCross BlueShield summarized its findings on diabetes in an infographic that is available free to download at a PDF.

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Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, is a nonprofit health plan with 1.5 million upstate New York members. The company's mission is to help people live healthier and more secure lives through access to high-quality, affordable health care. Its products and services include cost-saving prescription drug discounts, wellness tracking tools and access to telemedicine. With more than 3,500 employees, the company is committed to attracting and retaining a diverse workforce to foster innovation and better serve its members. It also encourages employees to engage in their communities by providing paid volunteer time off as one of many benefits. To learn more, visit