What You Can Do to Prevent Diabetes

FRIDAY, Nov. 23, 2018 (HealthDay News) — Type 2 diabetes has reached alarming numbers in the United States. But you can prevent or delay it through healthy eating and active living, an expert suggests.

Diabetes affects more than 30 million Americans, and type 2 is the most common form. As many as one-third of Americans have prediabetes, but most don’t know it, according to the American Association of Diabetes Educators.

Small lifestyle changes, like signing up for a morning exercise class, can help protect you from type 2 diabetes and its complications, according to association spokesperson Kathleen Stanley of Lexington, Ky.

Here, she shares some other tips:

Determine your personal risk. Find out if your family has a history of diabetes, because that puts you at increased risk. Men have a higher risk than women. Your ethnic background is also important. Blacks, Hispanics, Native Americans, and Pacific Islanders are at increased risk for type 2 diabetes.

Assess your lifestyle and make any necessary changes. Get at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity a week — about a half-hour most days of the week. Plan three 10-minute walks during the day to get away from your desk. Climb the stairs instead of taking the elevator.

Watch your plate. Eat a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats and whole, nourishing foods. Vegetables and fruit should occupy half your plate.

Maintain a healthy weight. Your body mass index (BMI) should be lower than 25, or lower than 23 for Asian American Pacific Islanders. BMI is an estimate of body fat based on height and weight. Research shows that losing just 5 percent to 7 percent of your body weight can reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes by more than half.

Talk to your doctor. Ask how to safely get more active and have a healthier diet. Get support for your lifestyle changes. Find out if there’s a National Diabetes Prevention Program in your neighborhood. If there isn’t an in-person program, check online. Other options include joining an exercise group, fitness facility, yoga or dance studio, or senior center.

Get tested. A simple blood test (fasting glucose) can reveal if you have prediabetes, a condition where blood sugar is consistently higher than normal. Discuss your risk of type 2 diabetes with your doctor.

Diabetes can cause serious health complications, such as stroke, heart disease, vision loss and foot problems.

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases has more on diabetes prevention.

This article was originally posted at HealthDay. View Original post here.

Diabetes Drug Might Also Ease Heart Failure Risks

SATURDAY, Nov. 10, 2018 (HealthDay News) — The diabetes drug Farxiga might do double-duty for patients, helping to ward off another killer, heart failure, new research shows.

Type 2 diabetics who took Farxiga (dapagliflozin) saw their odds of hospitalization for heart failure drop by 27 percent compared to those who took a placebo, according to a study funded by the drug’s maker, Astra-Zeneca.

“When it comes to helping our patients control and manage blood glucose, the ‘how’ appears to be as important [as] the ‘how much,” said study author Dr. Stephen Wiviott, a cardiovascular medicine specialist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

“When choosing a therapy, trial results like these can help us make an informed decision about what treatments are not only safe and effective for lowering blood glucose but can also reduce risk of heart and kidney complications,” Wiviott said in a hospital news release.

The findings were published Nov. 10 in the New England Journal of Medicine, to coincide with their presentation at the annual meeting of the American Heart Association in Chicago.

The new study included more than 17,000 type 2 diabetes patients aged 40 and older. Nearly 7,000 had heart disease and more than 10,000 had numerous risk factors for heart disease, Wiviott’s group said.

Patients were randomly assigned to take either a “dummy” placebo pill or 10 milligrams of Farxiga each day.

Taking the drug did not reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke and cardiovascular-related death, the research team found. However, patients who took the drug did see healthy declines in their blood sugar levels, plus an added bonus: a 27 percent decrease in their risk of hospitalization for heart failure.

Their risk of kidney failure and death from kidney failure also fell, the Boston team said.

Farxiga is a type of drug called a SGLT2 inhibitor. Two other recent studies of this class of drugs show that they “robustly and consistently improve heart and [kidney] outcomes in a broad population of patients with diabetes,” Wiviott noted.

One cardiologist who wasn’t involved in the study said the findings are welcome news for people with diabetes.

“Sadly, more than 70 percent of deaths in diabetic patients is from cardiovascular causes,” said Dr. Cindy Grines, who heads cardiology at North Shore University Hospital, in Manhasset, N.Y.

She noted that, in the past, there was concern that some diabetes medicines might harm the heart, but this new study shows that “there are now newer drugs available that have beneficial cardiovascular effects.”

Grines noted that fluid buildup is a hallmark of heart failure. And because Farxiga “works by increasing the excretion of glucose in urine, it is not surprising that it reduces heart failure.”

However, she found it surprising that the drug didn’t lower rates of heart attack or stroke.

The common diabetes drug metformin has been shown to lower the risk for these cardiac events, however. So, “I would chose [Farxiga] to add to metformin in patients with congestive heart failure,” Grines added.

According to Grines, patients with heart issues should avoid one class of diabetes drugs in particular.

“Multiple studies have shown that sulfonylurea drugs — glipizide, glyburide and glimepiride — increasedcardiovascular mortality, heart attack and congestive heart failure” she said, “so sulfonylureas should be avoided in all cardiac patients.”

Another heart specialist agreed that newer medicines such as Farxiga are improving treatment for people with type 2 diabetes.

Farxiga is “a welcomed addition to our armamentarium to reduce heart failure,” said Dr. Marcin Kowalski, a cardiologist at Staten Island University Hospital in New York City. “It is also uplifting that this group of medications did not increase [negative] cardiovascular outcomes.”

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases has more on diabetes medicines.

This article was originally posted at HealthDay. View Original post here.

Pounds Regained After Weight-Loss Op Can Tell Your Doc a Lot

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 17, 2018 (HealthDay News) — Tracking pounds regained after weight-loss surgery can help predict a patient’s risk for serious health problems like diabetes, a new study says.

“Clinicians and patients want to know the extent of weight regain following bariatric surgery and how it may affect their health,” said study lead author Wendy King, an associate professor of epidemiology at the University of Pittsburgh.

“Our study will help clinicians and patients understand the timeline, magnitude and impact of weight regain, as well as lead to further studies on how to best avoid and manage weight regain for better health outcomes,” King said in a university news release.

The study included more than 1,400 adults who had a type of weight-loss surgery called roux-en-Y gastric bypass. They had their weight checked eight times over almost seven years after surgery, on average.

Maximum weight loss occurred two years after surgery on average, but there was significant variation. About 20 percent of the patients continued to lose weight more than four years after surgery, the study found.

But no matter when maximum weight loss occurred, the rate of weight regained was highest in the first year following greatest weight loss. And the percentage of weight regained helped predict major health problems, according to the study authors.

As an example, the researchers pointed to someone who lost 150 pounds after bariatric surgery, and then put back on 28 pounds. That person regained 19 percent of the maximum weight lost.

The researchers said this level of weight regain was tied to a 51 percent higher risk of diabetes progression and a 28 percent higher risk of decline in physical health-related quality of life.

Doctors should realize that this level of weight regain may lead to the progression or development of various health problems. Besides diabetes, these problems include high blood pressure and high cholesterol, the researchers said.

King noted that five years after maximum weight loss, patients maintained an average of 73 percent of their maximum weight loss.

“So despite weight regain, in general patients are much healthier having had surgery,” King said.

Study senior author Dr. Anita Courcoulas is chief of minimally invasive bariatric surgery at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. She said the study “highlights the importance of longer-term, close follow-up to help maximize weight and health results following bariatric surgery.”

The study was published Oct. 16 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases has more on weight-loss surgery.

This article was originally posted at HealthDay. View Original post here.

30 Million Americans Now Have Diabetes

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 19, 2018 (HealthDay News) — 1 in 7 Americans has diabetes, and many don’t even know they have the blood sugar disease, a new report shows.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 14 percent of U.S adults have diabetes — 10 percent know it and more than 4 percent are undiagnosed.

“Diabetes remains a chronic health problem in this country, affecting some 30 million people,” said lead researcher Mark Eberhardt, an epidemiologist at CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS).

A number of factors may be responsible for the increases in diabetes, he said. This includes an aging population, since diabetes strikes the elderly more often.

In addition, the obesity epidemic is also driving the growing number of people with diabetes, Eberhardt said.

People need to be tested for diabetes even if they think they don’t have it, he said. The data showed that a third of those in the study didn’t think they had diabetes, but tests showed they did, Eberhardt said.

According to the report, nearly 16 percent of men have diabetes, and about 12 percent of women. Moreover, the odds of developing diabetes, both diagnosed and undiagnosed, increases with age.

In terms of populations, diabetes is more common among Hispanics (20 percent) and blacks (18 percent) than whites (12 percent).

The overweight and obese are also more likely to develop diabetes, the researchers found. Only 6 percent of underweight or normal-weight adults had the disease, while 12 percent of overweight adults and 21 percent of obese adults did.

Although treatment for diabetes is available, Eberhardt said, the public health goal should be taking steps to prevent the disease. “Sometimes prevention is the best treatment,” he said.

For the study, the researchers used data from the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

Dr. Joel Zonszein, director of the Clinical Diabetes Center at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City, expressed exasperation with the lack of progress in curbing the diabetes epidemic.

“We need to stop talking the talk and start walking the walk,” he said. Preventing diabetes starts with individuals making healthy lifestyle choices. These include a healthy diet and plenty of exercise.

Zonszein agreed that preventing diabetes should be the goal, but because diabetes is largely a matter of lifestyle it will take major changes in the American culture to accomplish that goal.

To get people to make healthy choices is going to take a drastic change in society, he said. Some of these changes might include taxing sugary drinks and getting people to eat less processed foods and fast foods.

Dr. William Cefalu, chief scientific and medical officer at the American Diabetes Association, said doctors haven’t been able to make that happen in the real world.

“We know how to prevent diabetes,” Cefalu said. “But how to do this in the real world is really the holy grail of the challenge.”

Once someone is diagnosed with diabetes, the goal has to be treatment that prevents complications such as heart disease, amputations and kidney failure.

“The problem is the patients diagnosed are not treated, and those treated are poorly treated with the great majority not achieving goals of sugar control, blood pressure control and cholesterol control,” Zonszein said.

Unfortunately, the best treatment only kicks in when the complications of diabetes become critical, he said.

These treatments consist of treating complications, including kidney failure, heart disease, heart failure and stroke, Zonszein said. “These are expensive and very well covered by our health care system, but primary and secondary prevention are not.”

The findings were published Sept. 19 as an NCHS data brief.

More information

For more information on type 2 diabetes, visit the American Diabetes Association.

This article was originally posted at HealthDay. View Original post here.

Study Confirms Added Cancer Risk for Diabetics, Especially Women

FRIDAY, July 20, 2018 (HealthDay News) — The increased risk of cancer in people with diabetes is higher for women than men, a new study finds.

Previous research identified the link between diabetes and cancer risk, but this study looked at whether that risk differs between men and women.

The takeaway: Among people with diabetes, women have a 6 percent higher risk of cancer than men, the researchers said.

And based on the researchers’ analysis of data from 47 studies, diabetics of both sexes are at greater risk of cancer than people without diabetes.

For women with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, the cancer risk is 27 percent higher compared to other women. And men with diabetes have a 19 percent higher cancer risk than men who don’t have the blood sugar disease, the findings showed.

The researchers also examined specific types of cancer in people with diabetes and found that, compared to men, women have a 15 percent higher risk of leukemia, a 14 percent higher risk of stomach cancer, a 13 percent higher risk of oral cancer, and an 11 percent higher risk of kidney cancer.

But women have a 12 percent lower risk than men for liver cancer, according to the report.

“Further studies are needed to clarify the mechanisms underlying the sex differences in the diabetes-cancer association,” the study authors concluded.

The report, from Toshiaki Ohkuma of the University of New South Wales in Australia and colleagues at the University of Oxford in England, was published July 19 in the journal Diabetologia.

Cancer is the second leading cause of death worldwide, accounting for 8.7 million deaths in 2015. About one in four women and one in three men will develop cancer during their lifetime, the study authors noted in a journal news release.

In addition, in 2015, there were 415 million adults worldwide with diabetes and 5 million diabetes-related deaths.

More information

The U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases has more on diabetes.

This article was originally posted at HealthDay. View Original post here.

Working Overtime Could Raise Women's Diabetes Risk

MONDAY, July 2, 2018 (HealthDay News) — Working lots of overtime may get you appreciation from the boss, but it might be bad for your health.

New research suggests that women who clock 45 or more hours a week have a higher risk of type 2 diabetes than women who log 35 to 40 hours weekly.

The study authors aren’t sure why extra work may boost diabetes risk, or why this link was only found in women. But they suspect it might have something to do with the hours of unpaid work at home that women tend to engage in more than men.

“It’s important to understand that the work environment does play an increased role in the risk of type 2 diabetes and other chronic diseases. Working long hours is not a healthy thing to do,” said the study’s lead author, Peter Smith. He’s a senior scientist at the Institute for Work and Health in Toronto.

“If you look at time spent outside of work, women do more care of household members and more routine housework. The only thing women don’t do more of is watching TV and exercising,” Smith added.

Type 2 diabetes is on the rise. By 2030, it’s estimated that 439 million people worldwide will live with the disease, up 50 percent from 2010, the researchers said.

Diabetes is a major risk factor for other chronic diseases, such as heart disease and stroke, the study team noted.

Obesity and a sedentary lifestyle are known risk factors for type 2 diabetes, but genetics also play a role, according to the American Diabetes Association.

The current study included more than 7,000 working adults from Ontario, Canada. The participants, who were followed for about 12 years, were between 35 and 74 years old.

During the study period, one in 10 people developed diabetes.

The researchers accounted for factors such as age, gender, marital status, parenthood, ethnicity, residence, lifestyle, weight, smoking and any chronic health conditions. They also included factors such as shift work, number of weeks worked in a year, and whether a job was active or sedentary.

The study found no statistically significant link between men’s work hours and developing type 2 diabetes.

But in women, working 45 hours or more was associated with “at least a 50 percent increased risk of developing diabetes,” Smith said.

It should be noted, though, that the study could only show an association between long work hours and diabetes; it wasn’t designed to prove a cause and effect.

The study authors suggested that long work hours may cause a stress response that might lead to hormone imbalances and insulin resistance that may contribute to the development of diabetes.

Dr. Joel Zonszein, director of the Clinical Diabetes Center at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City, reviewed the findings.

He said many things might account for the gender difference, including family-work responsibilities, sleeping problems, depression and the perception of a high total workload from jobs and non-paid work at home.

“Working 45 hours or more weekly can be associated with an increased incidence of diabetes, and of course, in [the United States] many have a double job, so they work many more hours than what is quoted by our Ontarian neighbors,” Zonszein said.

The study was published online July 2 in BMJ Open Diabetes Research and Care.

More information

Learn more about type 2 diabetes from the U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

This article was originally posted at HealthDay. View Original post here.

Diabetes Linked to Risk for Parkinson's Disease

WEDNESDAY, June 13, 2018 (HealthDay News) — Men and women with type 2 diabetes may face a significantly higher risk of developing Parkinson’s disease later in life, new British research suggests.

The finding of a link followed the tracking of Parkinson’s diagnoses among millions of diabetic and non-diabetic patients who use the National Health Service in England.

Study author Dr. Thomas Warner said that, after accounting for conditions that might mimic Parkinson’s, the research showed that those with type 2 diabetes had a 32 percent greater risk of later developing the progressively debilitating neurological disorder.

Escalated risk was even more dramatic among younger diabetes patients, aged 25 to 44, who were found to face a fourfold greater likelihood of eventually developing Parkinson’s, according to the report.

And adults with diabetes who had already developed diabetes-related health complications — including damage to the retina, kidneys or nerves — faced a 49 percent hike in their Parkinson’s risk.

Nevertheless, Warner stressed, “it is vital to realize that, overall, the majority of diabetic patients do not develop Parkinson’s disease.”

Although the study could not prove a cause-and-effect relationship, Warner cited two possible reasons for a link between the two diseases.

First, he said, there could be “shared genetic predisposition to develop [both] type 2 diabetes and Parkinson’s.”

And then “there may be shared pathways in leading to development of diabetes and Parkinson’s,” he added. While the exact nature of such a connection remains unclear, Warner suggested it might involve the insulin production and glucose control problems that characterize diabetes.

“Unlike most tissues in the body, brain cells are almost totally reliant on glucose as a source of energy,” Warner noted. “So if there is a problem in how insulin controls the use of glucose by cells, this may affect certain groups of brain cells selectively.”

Warner is a professor of clinical neurology with the University College London Institute of Neurology, as well as the Queen Square Brain Bank for Neurological Disorder, both in London.

He and his colleagues published their findings online June 13 in the journal Neurology.

For their study, the investigators used data from the English “Hospital Episode Statistics” database to identify 2 million British patients newly diagnosed with diabetes from 1999 through 2011.

This group was then stacked up against 6 million British patients who had initially sought care during the same time frame for non-diabetes related issues, such as sprains, varicose veins, appendectomies or hip replacements.

The researchers found that just over 14,000 of the 2 million in the diabetes group were later diagnosed with Parkinson’s, compared with about 21,000 of the 6 million others. That translated into a more than 30 percent greater risk for Parkinson’s among those with diabetes, the researchers said.

Among diabetic patients 25 to 44 years old, 58 of over 130,700 people developed Parkinson’s, compared with 280 out of nearly 2.6 million similarly aged non-diabetics. That translated into a fourfold greater Parkinson’s risk among those with diabetes, the researchers said.

Drug regimens and smoking histories were not considered in the current analysis; nor were patients seeking diabetes care outside a hospital setting.

Dr. Michael Okun, medical director of the National Parkinson’s Foundation, called the findings “not surprising, as the collective evidence from multiple studies has been converging on the idea of some link or association between Parkinson’s and diabetes.”

According to Okun, “There are many potential explanations for a link between the two diseases, but in younger patients, genetics likely plays a key role. In older patients, the degenerative process itself may disrupt brain-driven endocrine pathways, including those related to insulin and to sugar management.”

Okun, who also serves as the chair of neurology at the University of Florida in Gainesville, said, “At this point the mechanisms are unknown, and will require careful research.”

He said it’s “important to stress that although diabetes drugs are currently candidates to treat or prevent Parkinson’s disease, we are not recommending this approach until more compelling data is available.”

More information

There’s more on the root causes of Parkinson’s at The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.

This article was originally posted at HealthDay. View Original post here.

New Medicare Perk: Diabetes Prevention

TUESDAY, May 15, 2018 (HealthDay News) — Millions of U.S. seniors can now take part in a Medicare program designed to prevent prediabetes from progressing to type 2 diabetes.

Almost half of Americans 65 and older have prediabetes, and many don’t know it. In addition to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, prediabetes puts people at risk of heart disease and stroke, according to the American Association of Diabetes Educators.

“Medicare has expanded its coverage to include diabetes prevention, and that’s really great news,” said Angela Forfia, senior manager of prevention for the American Association of Diabetes Educators.

Prediabetes means blood sugar levels are elevated, but not as high as in type 2 diabetes. Weight loss and increased physical activity can help ward off a type 2 diagnosis.

“Seniors are a very high-risk group for type 2 diabetes,” Forfia said. But they’re also much more likely than younger people to be successful at preventing diabetes, she added.

Taking action is key. “If you wait even a year, prediabetes can become diabetes,” Forfia said.

The Medicare Diabetes Prevention Program is based on a year-long national diabetes prevention program started by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Private insurers often cover the CDC’s diabetes prevention program because it’s been shown to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes by 58 percent overall. In people over 60, the program reduces risk of type 2 diabetes by 71 percent, according to the diabetes educators’ group.

The new program includes at least 16 intensive “core” sessions of a CDC-approved curriculum. Those 16 sessions occur over six months in a classroom-style setting. Participants receive education on long-term dietary changes, increased physical activity, and behavior-change strategies for weight control, according to the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

After the core sessions are done, less intensive follow-up meetings are held monthly to help reinforce the new healthy behaviors.

The main program goal is to lose at least 5 percent of body weight. The program also aims to get people exercising at least 150 minutes a week, Forfia added.

But program coordinators work with program participants to “set realistic, achievable goals,” Forfia said.

Overall, the program includes 24 hours of instruction. “It’s really just a full day of commitment, and the program can have a tremendous impact on your life,” she noted.

This is welcome news, said Dr. Joel Zonszein, director of the Clinical Diabetes Center at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City.

“Treating prediabetes is better than treating diabetes. The CDC’s diabetes prevention program has been very successful, but we don’t always have enough referrals to the program,” Zonszein said.

“Primary care physicians need to know this is a tremendous opportunity to help their patients with prediabetes,” he added.

So, who’s eligible for the new program? First, you must be enrolled in Medicare Part B. Other requirements include:

  • A body mass index (BMI) of at least 25, or at least 23 if Asian. (BMI is a rough measure of body fat using height and weight measurements. A BMI of 25 or higher is considered overweight.)
  • An abnormal blood sugar level within 12 months of the first core session. Blood sugar can be measured in one of three ways: An A1C test that doesn’t have to be done fasting (5.7 to 6.4 percent is prediabetes); a fasting blood test (110 to 125 milligrams per deciliter is prediabetes); or a 2-hour fasting glucose tolerance test (140 to 199 mg/dL is prediabetes).
  • No previous diagnosis of type 1 or type 2 diabetes.
  • No end-stage kidney disease.

Although the reimbursement for services became available in April, Forfia said it will likely take programs time to get started. In the meantime, she said the CDC’s diabetes prevention program may offer classes in your area. Talk with your doctor to see if you need diabetes prevention services. Your physician may also be able to help you enroll.

More information

Learn more about the Medicare Diabetes Prevention Program from the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

This article was originally posted at HealthDay. View Original post here.

Using Diet to Stave Off Diabetes

MONDAY, May 7, 2018 (HealthDay News) — Diabetes has become a worldwide epidemic, but you can protect yourself with a healthier diet. And the same type of diet can help you manage diabetes if you already have it.

According to experts at Boston’s Joslin Diabetes Center and the Harvard School of Public Health, specific foods that help reduce your risk include green leafy vegetables, oat cereal, yogurt and dairy products, grapes, apples, blueberries and walnuts. Surprisingly, coffee and decaf java are also on the list.

Though weight loss for people who are overweight is often suggested, the researchers also found that even without weight loss, changing to a healthier diet helps stave off diabetes.

The quality of your fats and carbs matters more than the quantity. That means making choices like whole grains instead of refined ones, while limiting processed carbs in general and choosing fish and chicken in place of red and processed meats. Also, choose plant-based fats rather than animal fats, which also promotes heart health. And aim to add other fruits, vegetables, legumes and nuts, while limiting alcohol and skipping sugary drinks and foods.

If you find it more helpful to follow a set plan, there are many healthful diets that can be tailored to your personal tastes and calorie needs.

Diet Starting Points:

  • Mediterranean diet.
  • Low-glycemic index diet.
  • Moderately low carbohydrate diet.
  • Vegetarian diet.

Keep in mind that it’s never too late to use diet to your advantage, even if you already have diabetes. People enrolled in Joslin’s “Why WAIT” program, which includes a low-carb diet and regular exercise, not only lost weight and maintained it, but were also able to cut their diabetes medications by more than half.

More information

Click here to learn more about the Joslin “Why WAIT” program and other ways to prevent or manage diabetes through lifestyle changes.

This article was originally posted at HealthDay. View Original post here.

FDA Approves AI Device to Spot Diabetic Eye Disease

THURSDAY, April 12, 2018 (HealthDay News) — Artificial intelligence software that can detect diabetes-related damage to the retina — called diabetic retinopathy — has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The IDx-DR program analyzes images of a patient’s retinas taken with a special camera. The digital images are uploaded to a cloud server on which IDx-DR software is installed.

The software provides one of two results — “more than mild diabetic retinopathy detected: refer to an eye care professional” or “negative for more than mild diabetic retinopathy; rescreen in 12 months.”

If diabetic retinopthay is detected, patients should see an eye care provider for further evaluation and possible treatment as soon as possible, the FDA said.

This is the first approved software that provides a screening decision without the need for a health care provider to interpret the image or results, which means it can be used by health care providers who don’t typically provide eye care.

Diabetic retinopathy is the most common cause of vision loss among the more than 30 million Americans with diabetes and the leading cause of vision impairment and blindness among working-age adults, according to the FDA.

“Early detection of retinopathy is an important part of managing care for the millions of people with diabetes, yet many patients with diabetes are not adequately screened for diabetic retinopathy since about 50 percent of them do not see their eye doctor on a yearly basis,” said Dr. Malvina Eydelman, director of the FDA’s Division of Ophthalmic, and Ear, Nose and Throat Devices.

“Today’s decision permits the marketing of a novel artificial intelligence technology that can be used in a primary care doctor’s office,” Eydelman added in an agency news release.

The FDA said its approval of the software was based on a clinical study of retinal images from 900 patients. IDx-DR correctly identified more than mild diabetic retinopathy 87.4 percent of the time and correctly identified patients who did not have more than mild diabetic retinopathy 89.5 percent of the time.

The software should not be used to screen for diabetic retinopathy in patients who’ve had laser treatment, surgery or injection in the eye or have any of the following conditions: persistent vision loss, blurred vision, floaters, previously diagnosed macular edema, severe non-proliferative retinopathy, proliferative retinopathy, radiation retinopathy or retinal vein occlusion, according to the FDA.

The agency also said the software should not be used in pregnant women with diabetes because diabetic retinopathy can progress rapidly during pregnancy and the software is not intended to evaluate rapidly progressive diabetic retinopathy.

The software is made by IDX LLC.

More information

The U.S. National Eye Institute has more on diabetic eye disease.

This article was originally posted at HealthDay. View Original post here.