<p>Cases of diabetes and pre-diabetes in the United States have nearly doubled since 1988, with obesity apparently to blame for the surge. The burden of the disease has not hit all groups equally, with alarming increases in diabetes in blacks, Hispanics and the elderly, according to new research reported in the April 15 issue of the <em><a href="http://annals.org/article.aspx?articleid=1860528">Annals of Internal Medicine</a></em><br />
According to the research, diabetes increased from six percent to 10 percent in the past two decades and pre-diabetes also doubled in prevalence over the same period. Depending on the definition used, current estimates of the prevalence of pre-diabetes range from 12 percent to 30 percent in the population. <br />
In 2010, approximately 21 million American adults aged 20 or older had confirmed diabetes (either diagnosed or undiagnosed). While diabetes has increased dramatically in the population, the investigators found that the proportion of cases of diabetes that are undiagnosed has decreased. Currently, only 11 percent of diabetes cases in the U.S. population are undiagnosed, suggesting major improvements in screening and diagnosis of diabetes during the last two decades.<br />
However, major challenges still exist despite improvements in screening and treatment for diabetes. The investigators found a greater prevalence of pre-diabetes and diabetes, particularly undiagnosed diabetes, in ethnic minorities compared with whites. This disparity has increased over the past 20 years. <br />
Pharmacists play a key role in helping patients manage their medications properly so that people with chronic conditions like diabetes can have successful health outcomes. The health policy research group NEHI cites that only 50 percent of patients take their medications properly as prescribed by their doctor, which costs the nation more than $290 billion in avoidable health spending annually. Additionally, a 2013 study suggests that a typical accountable care organization with 10,000 Medicare beneficiaries might be able save up to $1.1 million annually in emergency department and hospital costs alone by improving adherence among patients with diabetes. More recently, a Harvard Law School <a href="http://www.aphafoundation.org/sites/default/files/ckeditor/files/MP7-PSMP-Diabetes-JAPhA-Final%20Report.pdf" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial; font-size: 12px; line-height: 16px; vertical-align: baseline; color: #028bff; outline: 0px;">report</a> showed that pharmacists on diabetes care teams significantly benefits patients.