Individualized Care Important in Diabetes Management: Study

If the findings of a new research are anything to go by, diabetes management can be improved considerably by enhancing the level of education that is imparted in the clinic.

Researchers at the University of Exeter Medical School established that more than a quarter of patients with type 2 diabetes and aged above 70 benefitted simply if the communication with them improved.

Elderly Patients Have Complex Problems
As per the current medical practice, doctors attempt to reduce blood glucose levels in the elderly patients. This aggressive attempt to reign in the sugar level however does not cater to the diverse, complex problems of these patients.

The present study, funded by Novartis Pharma AG, states that such a blanket approach acts as a stumbling block in appropriate management of the consition.

“People over the age of 70 are more likely to have multiple complications, such as heart disease, as well as type 2 diabetes. Yet perversely, these patients have so far been excluded from clinical trials, precisely because of these complications. It means they are generally treated with a `one-size-fits-all` approach,” Dr David Strain, from the University of Exeter Medical School, who led the study, said.

Small Study, Dramatic Results
For the purpose of the study, researchers divided 139 patients from across Europe into two groups. One of the group was given 50mg of a diabetes drug twice a day and the other group was given a placebo in addition to individualized care.

“We found that simply by individualizing goals and setting realistic targets, then spending time talking to patients rather than aggressively chasing targets resulted in nearly a quarter of patients achieving better glycaemic control, without the need for medication,” he added.

Dr Strain suggested that although the trial was small, the results were striking. The present study provides the substantiation that individualized care may be monumental in diabetes control.

Worldwide, Type 2 diabetes is one of the most common medical conditions in older adults. Diabetes is can lead to serious long-term complications including cardiovascular diseases, renal failure, and retinal damage.