Global research finds type 2 diabetics need to increase lifestyle changes

by Barbara Hewitt on December 11, 2013

People who are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes are not doing enough to change their lifestyles and doctors could do more to encourage them to do so, it is claimed.

Only half of patients with type 2 diabetes make the recommended lifestyle changes which could stop them developing complications and doctors often delay escalation of treatment that may better control blood sugar, according to research carried out by Novartis Pharma and the University of Exeter Medical School.


Doctors admitted that they only expect around half of people with type 2 diabetes to reach their blood sugar goals

The researchers also found that three quarters of people with type 2 diabetes are not concerned about developing complications.

Only 40% say they increase their level of exercise after diagnosis, despite receiving regular counselling on the importance of lifestyle changes. On top of that, doctors admitted that they only expect around half of people with type 2 diabetes to reach their blood sugar goals.

The survey looked at the perceptions and behaviours of 337 physicians and 652 people with type 2 diabetes in the UK, US, Spain, India, Japan and Brazil.

‘The low expectations described by both physician and people with diabetes appear to be self-fulfilling prophecies, leading to diet and lifestyle advice being ignored by patients and a failure to appropriately escalate therapies, termed therapeutic inertia, by the doctors,’ said Dr David Strain, of the University of Exeter Medical School.

‘This must be reversed if we are to tackle one of today’s biggest global health problems. The survey is the first step in a multi-faceted initiative to identify and address the barriers to improved care, including communication between physicians and people with type 2 diabetes and indifference toward treatment goals and complications related to the disease,’ he explained.

Worldwide, more than 382 million people have diabetes, with one person dying from the disease every six seconds. Type 2 diabetes accounts for 90% of all cases of the disease.

It is also hugely costly to health services. For example, in the UK it costs the NHS £296 per second and roughly 50% of diabetic patients die prematurely of stroke and heart disease. Strain said that it is alarming that 42% of people with type 2 diabetes who are treated for the disease do not reach their blood sugar goals, putting them at higher risk of organ and tissue damage, blindness and even death.

He is chairing the steering committee overseeing the research which also includes Sir Michael Hirst, president of the International Diabetes Federation (IDF,) and senior doctors from India, Brazil, Spain and Hungary.

‘This Time 2 Do More™ survey adds a wealth of data from a diverse set of physicians and people with type 2 diabetes that gives us insights into what needs to be done to provide better outcomes for those with the condition,’ Dr Strain pointed out.

‘In collaboration with Novartis and an esteemed panel of steering committee members, I look forward to translating these findings into simple and actionable recommendations with the aim to improve overall care for people with type 2 diabetes,’ he added.

The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of the Community and should not be interpreted as medical advice. Please see your doctor before making any changes to your diabetes management plan.

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