Approximately 6.3 million adults (one fourth of the U.S. population) with diabetes are not aware that they have the disease. Annual health care needs for people with undiagnosed diabetes tend to be higher than for people who don't have diabetes. The health care costs linked to diabetes begin to increase at least 8 years prior to diagnosis, and grow at a faster rate right before and after the diagnosis.
Diabetes is the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S., and is responsible for approximately 70,000 deaths yearly, according to Goodarz Danaei of the Harvard School of Public Health. Danaei and a team of researchers combined data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, and the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System to determine this.
Texans Face One Of The Highest Rates Of Diabetes Nationwide
Researchers from the Lewin Group in Virginia, Ingenix Pharmainformatics in North Carolina, and Ingenix Research in New Jersey used two public data sources to investigate the prevalence of diagnosed, and undiagnosed diabetes by state. They found that diabetes is highest in the Southern and Appalachian states, and lowest in the Midwest and the Northeast U.S.
Age-standardized diabetes was highest in Mississippi, West Virginia, Louisiana, Texas, South Carolina, Alabama and Georgia. The rate of diabetes ranged from 15.8 percent to 16.6 percent for men, and from 12.4 percent to 14.8 percent for women.
The researchers also found that states with the highest estimated rates of diabetes have the highest levels of blood pressure, and cardiovascular disease risk. This concentration of cardiovascular risks and diabetes indicates a great need for lifestyle changes, and health insurance in Texas and the other states with similar high rates of disease.
Because diabetes is one of the most common causes of death in the U.S., it's important to diagnosis the disease, and begin treatment as early as possible.
How Is Diabetes Diagnosed?
There are different tests that can be used to diagnose diabetes. According to the American Diabetes Association, the fasting plasma glucose test is less expensive than other tests.
For people without diabetes, normal fasting blood glucose is between 70 and 100 milligrams per deciliter or mg/dL. A diagnosis of diabetes is typically made when two blood tests show that your fasting blood glucose level is greater than, or equal to 126 mg/dL.
The casual plasma glucose test is a different method of diagnosing diabetes. During the test, blood sugar is tested without regard to the time since your last meal so you're not required to fast prior to the test.
With the casual plasma glucose test, a glucose level greater than 200 mg/dL may indicate diabetes, especially if the test is repeated at a later time with similar results.
People who have a normal fasting blood glucose reading may still experience a rapid rise in blood glucose as they eat. Such people may have glucose intolerance. If their blood glucose levels are high enough, they may be diagnosed with diabetes.
If tests show that you have normal fasting blood glucose, but you have risk factors for or symptoms of diabetes, a doctor may do a glucose tolerance test to be sure that you do not have diabetes.
The oral glucose tolerance test is usually only done during pregnancy to diagnose gestational diabetes, or if a person is suspected of having diabetes in spite of having a normal fasting glucose level. It can also be used to diagnose pre-diabetes.
Texas Health Insurance Will Be Available For Pre-existing Conditions
Texas State law allows health insurance companies to turn people down for individual health insurance coverage based on their health status. In most cases, diabetes is considered an "uninsurable" condition.
With the new health care reform laws starting in 2014, insurance companies will no longer be allowed to deny coverage to adults with pre-existing conditions, such as diabetes. Children with pre-existing conditions will receive this protection in 2010.
As health care reform laws improve Health Insurance in Texas, it will be a much better investment. Some insurance companies may begin transitioning their policies, and procedures even before the new laws take effect. Keep an eye on the changes in Texas Health Insurance as the health reform laws make it available to more people.