Setting personal treatment goals can cut risk of diabetes-related complications

Tue, 09 Apr 2013
Patients with type 2 diabetes who tailor their own treatment with the help of their GP can reduce their risk of serious complications such as heart attack by up to 20 percent, it has been revealed.

The finding is one of the latest results from the Danish 'Diabetes care in general Practice' study, which has been running for more than 20 years.

During this period, a total of 745 general practitioners have followed 1428 type 2 diabetes patients. Half of these GPs have received education on improving the treatment of type 2 diabetes based on the patients' own preferences and changes in lifestyle.

The results, which were recently published in the journal Diabetologia, showed that patients who have received individual care with continuous feedback and follow-up from their doctor have significantly reduced their risk of diabetic complications.

"I think it has been crucial for the success of the study that the doctors have been reluctant to begin medical treatment," said Professor Niels de Fine Olivarius, of the University's Research Unit for General Practice.

"In that way, the patients have had the opportunity to experience how much their own efforts such as changes in their food habits, more exercise and weight loss affect their diabetes treatment. Almost a third of the diabetes patients were able to manage their blood sugar purely by changing their food habits, even 6 years after the diagnosis .

He added: "We have to put in more effort for some patients than for others, and the general practitioners have to set personal goals in cooperation with the patients concerning risk factors such as blood sugar, blood pressure, cholesterol levels and weight."
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