A new and alarming study suggests that only about 2 percent of diabetics between the ages of 18 and 39 have had their diabetes diagnosed, which is frightening.

Study leader Maria Villarroel, of the U.S. Centers For Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) explains, “Ongoing medical care is recommended for persons of any age who have diabetes in order to manage levels of glucose, obtain preventive care services, and treat diabetes-related complications.”

She says, “Those who know they have diabetes, they’re not having contact with clinical care like they should.
The CDC team notes, “Retinal [eye] damage and nerve damage to the feet are diabetes-related complications that contribute to major [illness] and disability among adults with diabetes.” The team goes on to recommend doctor exams at least twice a year, but research shows that the youngest patients are less likely to consult with an eye or foot doctor when compared to older patients.

Mount Sinai Beth Israel Diabetes Management program director Gerald Bernstein, MD, comments “This tells us that people seeking medical care is remarkably high after a diagnosis of diabetes is made, including care from foot and eye doctors.” He adds, “In the younger age group where the information might be more valuable for preventing problems, not enough people pay attention to blood pressure and cholesterol levels.”

Dr. Maria Pena comments, “All of these complications are the main reasons why diabetics are more likely to get heart attacks, strokes, amputations, blindness, and dialysis, just to name a few.” The director of the Center for Weight Management at North Shore-LIJ’s Syosset Hospital in New York continues, “Development of these dreaded complications is what leads to impaired quality of life and life expectancy, as well as adding to our health system’s financial burden.”

But younger patients rarely see doctors as often as they should; at least, that is what the study suggests.