People with complex type 2 diabetes have lower rates of death and heart disease if they visit an endocrinologist within a year of diagnosis, according to new research.
On the other hand, people with less complex type 2 diabetes were fine with care from just primary care providers, suggesting that not everybody with type 2 diabetes needs to see an endocrinologist.
“Complex” diabetes refers to type 2 diabetes in combination with at least one other serious chronic healthy issue. Less complex type 2 diabetes, therefore, is type 2 diabetes without any other serious chronic health conditions.
The study found that patients with complex type 2 diabetes who received endocrinologist care lowered their risk of heart disease and stroke by 10 to 20 per cent. Patients who visited an endocrinologist at least three times reduced their risk of heart disease by 30 per cent.
“Endocrinologists don’t expect, or necessarily need, to see every patient,” said Dr. Gillian Booth, an endocrinologist at St. Michael’s Hospital and researcher at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences.
“We really wanted to look at who would stand to benefit from early specialist care and should be referred as soon as possible.”
Although the study was based on the Canadian healthcare system, its findings have a universal relevance. Type 2 diabetes places a huge financial strain on most healthcare systems – including the NHS – so it’s important to work out exactly what kind of care is necessary for different kinds of diabetes patients. Studies like this one provides healthcare principles that can lead to better distribution of resources, and ultimately better care.
“The earlier we can help provide targeted care to these patients, the better.
“Our research will hopefully contribute to the efficiency of our health-care system, ensuring people with diabetes are living healthy lives, as long as possible.”
The study was published in Diabetic Medicine.

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