Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes—2012

Diabetes mellitus is a chronic illness that requires continuing medical care and ongoing patient self-management education and support to prevent acute complications and to reduce the risk of long-term complications. Diabetes care is complex and requires that many issues, beyond glycemic control, be addressed. A large body of evidence exists that supports a range of interventions to improve diabetes outcomes.

These standards of care are intended to provide clinicians, patients, researchers, payers, and other interested individuals with the components of diabetes care, general treatment goals, and tools to evaluate the quality of care. While individual preferences, comorbidities, and other patient factors may require modification of goals, targets that are desirable for most patients with diabetes are provided. Specifically titled sections of the standards address children with diabetes, pregnant women, and people with prediabetes. These standards are not intended to preclude clinical judgment or more extensive evaluation and management of the patient by other specialists as needed. For more detailed information about management of diabetes, refer to references 13.

The recommendations included are screening, diagnostic, and therapeutic actions that are known or believed to favorably affect health outcomes of patients with diabetes. A large number of these interventions have been shown to be cost-effective (4). A grading system (Table 1), developed by the American Diabetes Association (ADA) and modeled after existing methods, was utilized to clarify and codify the evidence that forms the basis for the recommendations. The level of evidence that supports each recommendation is listed after each recommendation using the letters A, B, C, or E.

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Table 1

ADA evidence grading system for clinical practice recommendations

These standards of care are revised annually by the ADA's multidisciplinary Professional Practice Committee, incorporating new evidence. For the current revision, committee members systematically searched Medline for human studies related to each …

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