Based in the U.S, Outsource Strategies International (OSI) is a reputable and experienced billing and coding company specialized in providing medical billing and coding services for medical practices, clinics, hospitals and individual physicians.

In today’s podcast - Meghann Drella, one of our Senior Solutions Manager discusses about the significance of observing “National Diabetes Month” in November.

Hello and welcome to our podcast series. My name Is Meghann Drella and I am a Senior Solutions Manager here at Outsource Strategies International. Today, I will be discussing National Diabetes Month.

00:12 - US Statistics on Diabetes

Diabetes is one of most common chronic conditions in the U.S. About 34.2 million Americans, just over 1 in 10, have diabetes, according to the National Diabetes Statistics Report, 2020 released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Diabetes is the seventh-leading cause of death in the U.S., accounting for more than 79,000 deaths annually. It is also one of the most expensive chronic conditions in America.  A study by the American Diabetes Association (ADA) reported the estimated total financial cost of diabetes mellitus in the United States is $327 billion, which includes $237 billion in direct medical costs and $90 billion in reduced productivity.

00:53 – Significance of National Diabetes Month

Observed each year in November, National Diabetes Month focuses on educating people about diabetes and their risks for the condition as well as encouraging those with diabetes to talk about their experiences and “awaken the world”. This has become even more important today as having diabetes increases the risks of getting serious complications from COVID-19, according to the ADA.

01:13 – Introduction to Diabetes

Diabetes occurs when the body’s ability to produce or use insulin is impaired, leading to a rise in the level of blood sugar or glucose. Excess sugar in the blood can cause serious complications such as kidney failure, heart attacks, stroke, amputations and blindness, and is linked to an increased risk for several cancers.

01:31 – Three Types of Diabetes

There are three types of diabetes: type 1, type 2 and gestational diabetes. In type 1 diabetes, the body’s immune system attacks the cells of the pancreas that produce insulin. The result is that the body produces little to no insulin. Type 2 is the most common type of diabetes, and occurs when the body develops insulin resistance and also loses its ability to produce insulin.   The CDC estimates that approximately 90-95% Americans have type 2 diabetes. The third type, gestational diabetes, develops during pregnancy. High blood sugar caused by gestational diabetes can affect the mother’s health and lead to birth defects in the growing baby. Though the condition can be controlled through diet and exercise, women diagnosed with gestational diabetes face a risk of developing diabetes at a later stage in their life.  Gestational diabetes affects about 3 in 100 to 9 in 100 pregnant women, according to Stanford Children’s Health.

02:27 - Secondary Diabetes

Secondary diabetes is diabetes caused by another medical condition. Conditions that can cause diabetes are: cystic fibrosis, hemochromatosis, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), pancreatectomy, chronic pancreatitis, pancreatic cancer, Cushing’s syndrome, and glucagonoma. Drug-induced diabetes is diabetes that is caused by taking certain medications such as corticosteroids, thiazide diuretics, and beta-blockers.

02:58 - Diagnosing Diabetes

Of the 34.2 million Americans living with diabetes, 88 million, or about 1 in 3, have prediabetes. In prediabetes, glucose levels are high, but not high enough to confirm a diagnosis of diabetes. According to the CDC, 90-95 percent people have type 2. Many people with prediabetes are not aware of their condition.

The tests used to diagnose diabetes are the fasting plasma glucose (FPG) test, which requires overnight fasting, and the hemoglobin A1C (HbA1c) test which gives average blood glucose levels over a period of weeks/months. A random plasma glucose (RPG) test can be used to test for diabetes at any time, with no need for fasting overnight.

03:41 – Treatment and Management of Diabetes

There is no cure for Type 2 diabetes. Some people are able to manage the condition with a proper diet, exercising regularly, and maintaining a normal weight. However, others may need oral or injectable medication treatments to keep blood sugar levels stable.  Treatment depends on the type of diabetes that the patient has. Typically, diabetes treatment begins with prescribing oral metformin (Glucophage). Depending on the patient’s condition, various class drugs may also be included in the treatment plan. Some patients need insulin injections -- which work in the same way as the insulin produced by the body -- to lower blood sugar levels.

The main goals of treatment for diabetes mellitus are to address the symptoms and to prevent complications from occurring. Continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) plays a crucial role in evaluating the efficacy and safety of treatment in many patients with type 1 diabetes as well as in patients with type 2 diabetes who are under intensive insulin therapy. However, for treatment to be effective, associated conditions like glycemia, lipids, blood pressure are also addressed. In addition to medical nutrition therapy, exercise, and pharmacologic therapy, diabetes management interventions may include weight loss surgery, intensive lifestyle modification, and psychological interventions.

05:00 – Preventing Diabetes

People at risk need to be educated on how to prevent diabetes. Patients with diabetes should be educated about the condition and encouraged to adhere to a proper treatment plan. The importance of diet and exercise needs to be stressed as these measures can have a significant impact in controlling the disease and improving quality of life. The guidelines issued by the American College of Clinical Endocrinologists recommends the following measures for the prevention of type 2 diabetes mellitus in patients at risk:

  • Weight reduction
  • Proper nutrition
  • Regular physical activity
  • Cardiovascular risk factor reduction, and
  • Aggressive treatment of hypertension and dyslipidemia

05:39 - ADA’s Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes 2020

The ADA’s Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes has new and revised diabetes treatment recommendations and guidelines for screening, diagnostic, and therapeutic actions that are known or supposed to have a favorable impact on health outcomes of patients with diabetes. Diabetes mellitus requires long-term medical care to reduce the risk of devastating complications and to manage them if they occur. This also applies to COVID-19. The ADA has confirmed that the risk of getting very sick from COVID-19 is likely to be lower if diabetes is well-managed.

I hope this helps, but always remember that documentation as well as a thorough knowledge of payer regulations and guidelines is critical to ensure accurate reimbursement for the procedures performed.

Thank you for joining me, and stay tuned for my next podcast!