Excellus BlueCross BlueShield reports diabetes on the rise, while adults with the disease are doing better managing it.

The number of adults with diabetes is on the rise in upstate New York, according to health insurer Excellus BlueCross BlueShield. At the same time, adults with diabetes are better at managing their disease than they were just a few years ago, according to a review of self-reported patient data by BlueCross BlueShield.

More adults with diabetes are measuring their blood sugar daily, having an A1C blood test twice yearly, scheduling annual foot exams, getting regular exercise, taking diabetes management classes, seeing health professionals specifically for their diabetes, and even getting an annual flu shot, according to BlueCross Blue Shield. “Unfortunately, we are seeing greater numbers of people being diagnosed with diabetes,” stated Dr. Lisa Y. Harris, Excellus BCBS Medical Director.

In 2017, upstate New York had approximately 440,000 adults with diabetes, a 14 percent increase from 2015, when the region had an estimated 387,000 adults with the disease.

Diabetes is a major contributor to cardiovascular disease (heart disease and stroke), the nation’s leading killer. It also is the leading cause of kidney disease and non-traumatic lower extremity amputation.

Excellus BCBS’ review of the data revealed only one diabetes care recommendation that is on the decline. From 2015 to 2017, Excellus BCBS found a 9 percent change in the percentage of adults who had a dilated eye exam within the last year. That’s important, because diabetes is the leading cause of new blindness.

Excellus BCBS summarized its findings on diabetes in an infographic that is available free to download at https://tinyurl.com/y4rj3gjh