Control of type 2 diabetes can be greatly affected by the presence of other illnesses and disorders, according to a new study.
Just half of patients with type 2 diabetes achieve recommended blood glucose level targets, and researchers in Belgium believe this may be due to the high incidence of comorbid conditions and interactions with the drugs used to treat these diseases.
Comorbid conditions (or comorbidities) are other disorders an individual patient might have other than the primary disease of interest.
To investigate the possible impact of the complex interactions between comorbidities and comedication on blood glucose control, a team from the University of Leuven in Belgium examined data on treatment outcomes in 3,416 patients with type 2 diabetes.
The researchers compared HbA1c (a longer-term measure of blood glucose) levels of patients who had type 2 diabetes with those who also suffered from comorbid diseases such as joint disorders, respiratory disease, anaemia, malignancy and depression.
Many of the comorbid patients were also prescribed at least one non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), corticosteroid or antidepressant .
Patients taking medication for type 2 diabetes were found to be significantly more likely to have poor glycemic control (HbA1c above 7%) if they also had a joint disorder and/or respiratory disease, or were on corticosteroids and NSAIDs.
The authors said their findings confirmed the need for GPs to be given comprehensive clinical guidelines on caring for patients with multiple diseases .
They added that more combinations of chronic diseases and medications need to be studied to improve the chance of successful diabetes treatment.

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