Some studies show that the prevalence of diabetes in rural areas is as much as 17 percent higher than urban areas. We know many American’s who live in rural areas have limited access to health care providers and diabetes educators, higher rates of obesity, and lower levels of education which are all risk factors for diabetes. Diabetic patients in rural areas report fewer annual eye exams or diabetic foot exams and tend to suffer from higher rates of retinopathy and foot sores. Even with limited resources, providers in rural areas can help improve diabetic outcomes by working with patients to ensure annual HbA1c testing and working with patients to manage their diabetes to a treatment target of nine percent or less. Patients with an HbA1c over nine percent are significantly more likely to experience diabetic complications and poor outcomes, so this is an important first step in helping patients learn about their diabetes and become active participants in their care.
Tools and Resources
Rural Diabetes Prevention and Management Toolkit – A link to the Rural Health Information Hub’s toolkit with strategies for diabetes prevention and management in rural areas.
Diabetes Management in Rural Areas Takes Holistic, Community Approaches – An article published by The Rural Monitor that explores community-based approaches to diabetes management.
Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes – A PDF document published by the American Diabetes Association with the Standards for Medical Care in Diabetes Abridged for Primary Care Providers.