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Local Health Insurers Agree on Diabetes Guidelines

By Eileen Buckley

Amherst, NY – Local health insurers Tuesday announced the adoption of universal guidelines to improve the care for adult diabetics.

Community Blue, Independent Health and Univera Healthcare gathered at the American Diabetes Association in Amherst to announce the adoption of the universal guidelines. Dr. John Gillespie, with Blue Cross/Blue Shield, says the guidelines call on diabetics to conduct regular testing of their blood sugar, eyes and urine and to learn how to self-manage the disease.

"You can manage the blood pressure. In doing so, you can decrease the risk of heart attacks, strokes and kidney disease," Gillespie said. "Eye exams can uncover early indications of diabetes. Smoking doubles or triples your risk of complications associated with diabetes."

UB Professor Paresh Dandona, director of the Diabetes Center of Western New York, says the disease is going to be a major challenge over the next several years.

"We have 16 million diabetics today in the United States," Dandona said. "By 2030, there will be 50 million. One in six Americans will be a diabetic 30 years from now. In older age and minority groups, the numbers will be even higher."

The Buffalo-based Research Center for Stroke and Heart Disease says Western New York has the highest rate of diabetes in New York State and the U.S.