Make Diabetes Screening and Monitoring Standard of Care in UMSOD Dental Clinics
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Every 23 seconds another person in the U.S. is diagnosed with diabetes, yet as many as 1 in 3 adults currently have diabetes and do not know. Of those who know they have diabetes, many do not have good control of the disease. As many as 90% of the 86 million pre-diabetics in the U.S. do not know they suffer from it. These trends continue to become dramatically worse, with diabetes now being the 3rd most common cause of death. Diabetes is the only systemic disease with a complication of periodontal disease, and a recent study has found that 90% of people with gum disease are at risk for developing diabetes. Diabetes directly impacts oral health, as well as the patients overall health. As future dental professionals, we want to do something to make a difference.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services rates screening for diabetes as one of the top measures that need to be implemented in the health care system. In the state of Maryland, Dentists are legally able to screen for diabetes and refer patients to the appropriate physician. In addition, people are more likely to see their dentist on a regular basis, compared to their physician. Dental professionals have the opportunity and the ability to screen patients for diabetes; something that could help prevent a pre-diabetic patient from developing diabetes, and something that could help a diabetic patient better control their disease. Diabetic screening in the dental office would provide important information for both the patient and the dentist. As student dentists, we should share the same responsibility and interest in our patients health.
Diabetic screening is currently being utilized at Marquette University, School of Dentistry. They teach casual random screening to 2nd year dental students and the dental clinic screens all diabetic patients prior to providing care. All of the school clinics have the proper equipment to accomplish random blood glucose screening tests. We should be following this same trend. Blood glucose monitors are inexpensive and it’s possible to do a blood glucose screening in minutes.
As future dental professionals, we are an integral part of the healthcare system. Not only does diabetes affect a patients general health, but affects their oral health and the success of treatments we will be performing. Screening for diabetes in our clinics would provide valuable information to both the patient and to us, and it would also show our patients that we care about more than just their mouths. Diabetic screening is something that should be made standard in our clinics. Sign our petition to help make that happen!
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