Native Americans with Diabetes
Native Americans (American Indians and Alaska Natives) have a greater chance of having diabetes than any other US racial group. Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure, a costly condition that requires dialysis or kidney transplant for survival. Kidney failure can be delayed or prevented by controlling blood pressure and blood sugar and by taking medicines that protect the kidneys. Good diabetes care includes regular kidney testing and education about kidney disease and treatment. Kidney failure from diabetes among Native Americans was the highest of any race. However, this has declined the fastest since the Indian Health Service (IHS) began using population health and team-based approaches to diabetes and kidney care, a potential model for other populations.
Health care systems can:
Use population health approaches to diabetes care. Assess long-term outcomes and address disparities. Promote wellness of the entire community and connect people to local resources, including healthy food, transportation, housing, and mental health care.
Develop a coordinated team approach to diabetes care. Team based-care should include patient education, community outreach, care coordination, tracking of health outcomes, and access to healthcare providers, nutritionists, diabetes educators, pharmacists, community health workers, and behavioral health clinicians.
Integrate kidney disease prevention and education into routine diabetes care. Screen people with diabetes for kidney disease and make sure that kidney disease is routinely addressed as part of diabetes care.
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