A Diagnosis of Pre-Diabetes Isn’t Enough to Motivate Many Patients

Of U.S. adults that have pre-diabetes, an estimated 92 percent are unaware of it.

| Mar 18, 2010

In a study that tracked 1,402 people with pre-diabetes, researchers found that only about half of them responded to the diagnosis by trying to shed weight or increase their level of exercise.

Pre-diabetes, a condition that affects an estimated one-third of U.S. adults over the age of 20, is commonly defined as the presence of elevated blood glucose levels that are not quite high enough to qualify as diabetes, but are a big step on the way to acquiring the disease.

In the study, researchers from Emory University, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases surveyed 1,402 people whom they had determined to be pre-diabetic on the basis of blood glucose tests. Only seven percent of the study participants had already been told that they had pre-diabetes, and fewer than half-48 percent-had been tested for blood glucose levels within the past three years. (Of U.S. adults that have pre-diabetes, an estimated 92 percent are unaware of it.)

The researchers found that people with pre-diabetes tend to be older, are more likely to be male, and have such risk factors for cardiovascular disease as excess weight, abdominal fat, high levels of triglycerides, and high blood pressure. They also found that no ethnic group is more likely to have pre-diabetes.

The study's description of the people who have pre-diabetes may give a hint as to why they resist altering their diet and exercise habits. Older people have long-established eating and exercise habits that are hard to change. The threat of potential diabetes is often weighed against current pleasures and satisfactions. Also, the existence of a potent array of contemporary diabetes therapies can be a form of reassurance that allows rationalization. People may assume that even if they do develop full-blown diabetes, the diagnosis would not as dangerous as it was before such medicines were available. 

In addition to concerns about the low rate of motivated patient responses to the diagnosis of pre-diabetes, the study, scheduled for publication in the April issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, raises concerns about how well healthcare professionals are monitoring potentially pre-diabetic patients and getting them to come in for blood glucose testing.

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Having Prediabetes May Not Kick-Start Prevention Efforts


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Categories: Blood Glucose, Diabetes, Diabetes, Health Care, Health Research, Pre-Diabetes, Research

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Posted by MichelleRodulfo on 18 March 2010

I think the majority of us accept that we will one day fall ill from a chronic degenerative disease and that will eventually be our demise. In the interim, there are a plethora of pharmaceuticals available to help us along the way. The result is often a reluctance to change lifestyles. As Dr. Myron Wentz said "we live too short and die too long."

Posted by Karow on 18 March 2010

Even as adults, we are forewarned about something, but do not do anything about it until it is too late. Self-control can be one of the biggest issues that people struggle with. Weight loss can be very diffcult once people get accustomed to their eating habits. Diabetes can be a serious condition. Once riddled with it, life can become very uncomfortable. My grandfather lived with diabetes for 10 years. His food was monitored very carefully, his wounds didn't heal as quickly, his sugar levels constantly changed his moods, etc. How can this be pleasant for anyone?

Posted by seashore on 18 March 2010

What advice are prediabetics given to reduce their risk of diabetes? Lose weight and exercise more. These do little. Eat a "healthy" low-fat diet and lower your cholesterol. These make the diabetes worse.

The real answer is to go onto a low-carb diet, with carbs limited ideally to 30 grams per day. This will dramatically reduce blood sugar. However, very few physicians or diabetes educators recommend this radical approach.

Posted by Joan Hoover on 18 March 2010

I could not be more supportive of those who are trying to rid the world of diabetes. They are on the side of the angels. If they know of behavior that would help people with pre-diabetes, they should surely let it be known.

Posted by Joan Hoover on 18 March 2010

(Comment NOT finished !)But,to count 1402 people in a study to find out why they didn't comply with that information is a waste of good research time and money. Every soul on earth has a hundred improvements to be watching, many are related to physical ailments, but there is also: dont text while driving, don't smoke, don't put your life savings in a bad bank, and on and on. The right to pick your own level of stress and pick your own priorities regarding your life style can't be regulated and we shouldn't even try. We have more important work to do. Find THE cure for diabetes and put it out on the table. I guarantee all 1402 people asked will give you their undivided attention.

Posted by randeg1 on 19 March 2010

The low rate of patient response to a pre-diabetes diagnosis troubles me a lot. As a self-proclaimed diabetes advocate, I have made it my mission to give alerts to diabetics so they can take better care of themselves. Perhaps showing them videos on what could happen if they wait for the complications to set in before making a move may motivate them into action.

Evelyn Guzman
http://www.free-symptoms-of-diabetes-alert.com (If you want to visit, just click but if it doesn’t work, copy and paste it onto your browser.)

Posted by Cryppie on 19 March 2010

I can understand the findings. There are those of us who, when given the diagnosis, think, "What's new. Something else is wrong." We also feel that nothing we do will work anyway. Thee are people who can accomplish things, and there are people who cannot. Tons of inspirational stories from people who have overcome some obstacle have no effect since these are from people who can accomplish things.

And yes, self-control is part of it but hampered by the "even if I don't eat the Snickers, my BG will be high."

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