What measurement means for diabetes care

If you have diabetes, it is important to reach specific treatment goals to protect your health. By reaching these goals, you can lower your risk of problems such as nerve damage, kidney disease, eye problems, heart disease, and stroke. Diabetes cannot be cured but if you control it, you can lead a healthy life.

Measuring high-quality care for diabetes includes treatment goals in five areas:

  • Blood pressure is less than 140/90 mmHg
  • Blood sugar (A1c) is less than 8%
  • Being tobacco-free
  • Taking a statin as needed to manage cholesterol
  • Taking an aspirin daily, if appropriate

You should also talk with your doctor or nurse to see if taking a statin medication is right for you.

The statewide rate of controlled diabetes in adults is 46% for all reporting medical groups and clinics. This means 46 of 100 adult patients with diabetes in Minnesota and neighboring areas met all four treatment goals.

Below are the statewide rates for the individual treatment goals that make up the diabetes care report:

  • 84% of adults with diabetes had well-controlled blood pressure
  • 57% of adults with diabetes had well-controlled cholesterol levels
  • 72% of adults with diabetes kept their blood sugar to healthy levels
  • 84% of adults with diabetes did not smoke or use any other form of tobacco
  • 99% of adults with diabetes took an aspirin every day, if appropriate

High rates of controlled diabetes can be a sign of strong clinical care. It’s important to know that small differences in percentages don’t necessarily reflect the quality of care you’ll receive with a certain medical group or clinic. It is more important to note the large differences between providers, and speak with your doctor if you have questions or concerns.

The American College of Cardiology and the American Health Association recommend statin medications as the best way for patients to lower their risk of developing heart disease. Statins are drugs that work to lower cholesterol levels. We encourage you to talk with your doctor or health care provider about taking a statin because the guidelines for managing high cholesterol changed in November, 2013.

Type 1 diabetes

Usually diagnosed in children and young adults, this type of diabetes was also known as juvenile diabetes. Only 5% of people with diabetes have this form of the disease. In type 1 diabetes, the body does not produce insulin. Insulin is a hormone that is needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy needed for daily life. With the help of insulin therapy and other treatments, even young children can learn to manage their condition and live long, healthy lives.

Type 2 diabetes

Type 2 is the most common form of diabetes. If you have type 2 diabetes your body does not use insulin properly. This is called insulin resistance. At first, your pancreas makes extra insulin to make up for it. But, over time it isn't able to keep up and can't make enough insulin to keep your blood glucose at normal levels. The good news is that many cases of adult-onset, type 2 diabetes are preventable. Although you can’t cure it, you can successfully control the disease with medication, diet and exercise.

Gestational diabetes

During pregnancy – usually around the 24th week – many women develop gestational diabetes. A diagnosis of gestational diabetes doesn't mean that you had diabetes before you conceived, or that you will have diabetes after giving birth. But it's important to follow your doctor's advice regarding blood glucose (blood sugar) levels while you're planning your pregnancy, so you and your baby both remain healthy.

Symptoms of diabetes include:

  • frequent trips to the bathroom
  • unquenchable thirst
  • unintended weight loss
  • weakness and fatigue
How we calculate the measure

We measure how well medical groups perform in having their adult diabetes patients meet recommended goals for diabetes care. This report is based on information from patients who visited their doctor between January 1, 2015 and December 31, 2015. The information is collected under five measure components: Blood Pressure, HbA1c Control, LDL Control, Tobacco Free and Daily Aspirin Use. That data is analyzed to create this patient-level, all-or-none composite measure.