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The Burden of High Blood Sugar in Diabetes Patients in Philadelphia

January 13, 2021

It is estimated that over 12% of adults over 18 in the USA have diabetes. A study to examine the burden of uncontrolled high blood sugar, also known as hyperglycemia, in patients with diabetes and their characteristics in a large urban city was created. This research can help identify disparities within different socioeconomic statuses (SES) and identify who is most at risk of uncontrolled hyperglycemia.

Research led by Longjian Liu, MD, PhD, MSc, FAHA, associate professor, Dornsife School of Public Health at Drexel University, looked at the associations of uncontrolled hyperglycemia with sociodemographic and cardiovascular factors. Philadelphia has the highest prevalence of diabetes, out of 10 major U.S. cities, at over 15.4% of all adults over 18. Most studies have reported the incidence and prevalence of diabetes, but pay less attention to evaluating the treatment and disease control at both individual and community levels. This study was funded by UHC pilot funding and was supported by UHC team members Kari Moore, MS, and Steven Melly, MS, MA.

The results showed that the highest rate prevalence of uncontrolled hyperglycemia was found in the youngest age group of 18-54 year olds at 36%. Patients living in neighborhoods with lower socioeconomic status (SES) had significantly higher uncontrolled hyperglycemia rates across the city. Researchers have found that this study is one of the first to address that younger adults had higher rates of uncontrolled hyperglycemia. More research must be done on hyperglycemia and diabetes to answer questions such as to why younger adults have poorer control of the disease than the older populations.

To read the full study, click here.