On Site at the ADA: Obesity and T2DM

June 24, 2013

Obesity and kidney disease need to be aggressively managed in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus.

The 73rd Scientific Sessions of the American Diabetes Association (ADA) started today in Chicago. The ADA Scientific Sessions is one of the international headline events for all things related to diabetes. Immediately, I am struck by two things. First, there are a lot of people here-26,000 according to my cab driver. Second, I can’t recall a meeting with so many international attendees. 

These 2 observations really point to what is going on with diabetes these days. First, the rapidly growing number of people with places huge demands on our health care delivery systems-from both a care perspective and a financial perspective. And, second, diabetes is truly a worldwide epidemic expanding exponentially in every corner of the globe. Health care providers from all over the world are gathered to explore what is new in diabetes management.

Friday is always busy-arrival and registration! The scientific sessions were very broad, but many centered on diabetes and the kidney. We often forget that almost 40% of our diabetic patients have some degree of chronic kidney disease. A great symposium dealt with what we really know about hypertension, chronic kidney disease, and what adiposity has to do with it. We are clearly learning that obesity itself is a disease and requires attention and treatment as such.

To that point, there were a number of oral presentations in the late afternoon related to obesity and weight loss. There is an important new emphasis on weight management as a part of overall type 2 diabetes mellitus management. We primary care providers should start sharpening our skills in the treatment of obesity and, perhaps, be more aggressive in managing this aspect of our patients’ condition than we have been.

Friday night is always the opening reception, this year held at the Field Museum of Natural History. The food and fellowship were wonderful, but hardly held a candle to the chance to wander the halls of this spectacular museum.

Tomorrow will be an early morning. I have a role to play on the Diabetes Is Primary CME track sponsored by the ADA for primary care physicians. That the ADA recognizes such a need is a remarkable “pat on the back” to the countless PCPs who are rendering the majority of care to our patients with type 2 diabetes. I left the reception ready for tomorrow.

Charles F. Shaefer Jr, MD
6/21/2013

Scroll down for links to blogs from the rest of the ADA meeting.