NIDDK Director's Update Winter 2018

Health Information Updates

National Diabetes Month focuses on staying healthy after gestational diabetes

By Elizabeth Waibel

Many women have heard of gestational diabetes, which is a type of diabetes that develops only during pregnancy and usually goes away after birth. But those who've had it may not be aware that having a history of gestational diabetes may raise their risk of type 2 diabetes later in life.

In November for National Diabetes Month, NIDDK focused on promoting health after gestational diabetes.

“Research has shown that high blood glucose during pregnancy can have lifelong health effects — for both the mother and her baby,” NIDDK Director Dr. Griffin P. Rodgers said in a statement.

Recent NIDDK-funded research also found that gestational diabetes raises the child’s risk for obesity later in life, so parents need to tell their child’s pediatrician if the child was born from a pregnancy affected by gestational diabetes. The doctor may want to monitor the child’s growth to watch for early signs of obesity.

To share this important health information, NIDDK launched a National Diabetes Month web page with outreach tools and a short video covering the basic steps women with a history of gestational diabetes need to take to stay healthy.

Rodgers participated in 19 radio interviews about this topic, which were broadcast on 314 stations in the United States, reaching an estimated audience of more than 650,000 listeners. During the interviews, he discussed how women can stay healthy after gestational diabetes and also shared steps everyone can take to delay or prevent the development of type 2 diabetes. As well, an article published in more than 900 newspapers emphasized the importance of getting tested regularly for type 2 diabetes if you have ever had gestational diabetes.

Rodgers encouraged listeners to learn more by visiting and sharing information about diabetes and healthy living from NIDDK.

Read about the NIDDK-funded Hyperglycemia and Adverse Pregnancy Outcomes Follow-up Study in the Research Updates section.

The Sisters Together" program guide brochure cover

NIDDK updates community guide to help black women improve health

Obesity is a serious health problem in the United States. More than one in three U.S. adults has obesity, and that number increases to 57 percent among U.S. black women. Research has shown that excess weight may contribute to high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, kidney disease, certain kinds of cancer, and other chronic conditions.

NIDDK recently updated the community program guide and published a new informational video for its Sisters Together: Move More, Eat Better national health awareness program. Sisters Together encourages black women to reach and maintain a healthy weight by being more physically active and making healthier food choices.

The guide describes six steps to start, develop, and sustain a Sisters Together program. It offers practical tips about how to create a program budget, find community resources and partners, and plan activities. Sample forms, letters, and social media messages that users can copy and modify are all included.

Supporting Sisters Together content for older adults, youth, and women with families is also available.

Updated Guiding Principles highlight areas of agreement in diabetes care

By Elizabeth Waibel

Photo of Guiding Principles book cover

Emphasizing the importance of diabetes self-management education and support (DSMES), as well as providing patient-centered care using shared decision-making and individualized care are among the foundational principles for delivering quality diabetes care, according to the recently updated Guiding Principles for the Care of People with or at Risk for Diabetes.

This set of 10 clinically useful principles highlights areas of broad consensus for diabetes care and was developed through a collaborative effort led by the National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP) and more than a dozen federal agencies and professional organizations. Guiding Principles was first published in 2014, and the update reflects new and changing evidence that has evolved over the last several years, as well as a new principle addressing overweight and obesity in the management of diabetes. NDEP is a partnership between NIH and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“There are a lot of diabetes guidelines out there, and practitioners and patients can get confused about which they should follow,” said Dr. Judith Fradkin, director of NIDDK’s Division of Diabetes, Endocrinology, and Metabolic Diseases. “With these Guiding Principles, we aren’t creating new guidelines, but clarifying where there is general agreement across myriad diabetes guidelines. Guiding Principles represents a set of sound practices. Our goal in developing this resource is to help clinicians help their patients with diabetes.”

In addition to the new principle addressing overweight and obesity, Guiding Principles covers topics ranging from identifying patients with undiagnosed diabetes or prediabetes, individualizing blood glucose management, detecting and treating microvascular complications, and considering the needs of special populations with diabetes.

Diabetes touches so many different facets of medical practice from primary care to specialists such as podiatrists, optometrists, and obstetricians, in addition to endocrinologists, diabetes educators and registered dietitians. NDEP Chair Dr. M. Sue Kirkman said providing diabetes care can be particularly difficult for primary care providers.

“For them, diabetes might just be one condition that they’re dealing with in that particular patient visit, which can be very short,” she said. Guiding Principles can help them focus on fundamental points of evidence-based care that will improve outcomes for people with diabetes.

Download Guiding Principles and see a list of supporting organizations.

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