Prediabetes: The Silent Health Condition That Affects Thousands

Thousands of Connecticut residents are prediabetic but don’t know it and if they did, doctors say, early detection and lifestyle changes could prevent diabetes from developing in most people at risk. The state Department of Public Health reports that 83,000 adults in Connecticut have prediabetes, which occurs when a person’s blood sugar level is higher than normal but not high enough to be classified as Type 2 diabetes. Nearly 9 percent of adults in the state—about 257,000 people—have been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. Prediabetes has few early warning signs, but a blood test by a primary care doctor can detect at-risk patients. Once detected, changes in diet and exercise, sometimes with medication, can stave off the disease, doctors say.

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Most Home Health Care Agencies Providing Average Care, New Data Show

Two-thirds of Connecticut’s 99 licensed home health care agencies provide average or above-average care, while 19 were rated below average, according to new Medicare five-star rating data. Just one agency, McLean Home Care & Hospice in Simsbury, received the highest rating of five stars; three agencies, including the Lighthouse Home Health Care in Old Saybrook, received 4.5 stars; and eight received four stars. Nationally, as in Connecticut, a majority of the agencies fall “in the middle” with a three or 3.5 star rating, the data released in late January show. Of the 12,201 home care agencies rated nationally, only 2,512 received five stars. Patricia Adams, administrator for home care and hospice at McLean Home, said, “Our team is really thrilled” with the five-star rating.

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Blumenthal Pushes State, Federal Efforts In Opioid Battle

Citing the escalating incidence of opioid addiction and overdoses in Connecticut, U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal said Monday that the state needs a “comprehensive, multifaceted” approach to combat the problem and identify areas in which federal funds might support those efforts. More than a dozen educators, physicians, law-enforcement representatives, substance-abuse experts, public-health professionals, and members of advocacy groups joined Blumenthal at the standing-room-only event at the offices of Community Mental Health Affiliates in New Britain. Also attending were two young adults who were in recovery after years of addiction that led to their incarceration and eventual treatment, along with a mother who lost her 26-year-old son to an overdose. “Drug addiction among young people is a horrendous and life-threatening epidemic – a deadly epidemic, as we have seen in the last few days,” Blumenthal said, referring to the nine heroin overdoses, one of them fatal, that occurred in New London County this past weekend. Blumenthal said that educators, physicians, social services and lawmakers must work together.

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Study Sees Key Role For Child Care Workers In Curbing Obesity

Family-based day care workers can be powerful allies in the state’s battle to curb childhood obesity by influencing diets and physical activities, says new research from the University of Connecticut. Childhood obesity has emerged as one of the most serious and widespread health threats in the United States. Nationally, 17 percent of children ages 2 to 19 (about 1 in 6) are overweight or obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The obesity problem is particularly acute among Hispanic children. In Connecticut, for example, 16.7 percent of Hispanic children ages 2 to 5 participating in the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program were overweight and 18 percent were obese, compared to non-Hispanic black children (13.6 percent overweight, 14.2 percent obese) or non-Hispanic white children (14.5 percent overweight, 13.5 percent obese), according to 2011 data.

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Yale researchers found that mammography declined 7.4% overall.

Yale: Cancer-Screening Guidelines May Play Role In Decline In Screening Rates

Declines in several key cancer-screening procedures among the elderly can be linked to shifts in screening guidelines issued by major public health organizations, according to recently released findings by Yale researchers. James Yu, associate professor of therapeutic radiology at the Yale School of Medicine, and Sean Maroongroge, a third-year medical student, gleaned data from Medicare billing records from 2000 to 2012, analyzing more than 230 million screenings for prostate, breast, and colorectal cancers. Yu, a member of the Yale COPPER Center (Cancer Outcomes, Public Policy, and Effectiveness Research Center), and Maroongroge, also tracked evidence-based screening guidelines issued by five prominent organizations: the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), the American Cancer Society (ACS), the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), the American College of Gastroenterology (ACG), and the American Urological Association (AUA). They found that the rates for mammography, which is the primary means of screening for breast cancer, declined 7.4 percent overall during the period studied; prostate screening rates rose 16 percent during the first seven years studied then declined to 7 percent less than the 2000 rate by 2012. Colorectal cancer screening rates also dropped overall.

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