Patients, Physicians Do Not Manage Diabetes Well
Many diabetes patients do not manage their disease and "many ... doctors are too busy" to track how well their patients are following treatment regimens, USA Today reports. According to USA Today, diabetes is growing rapidly in the U.S., with about one-third of those with the disease unaware that they have it, and doctors increasingly are diagnosing teens and young adults with adult-onset, or type 2 diabetes.
CDC predicts that one in three infants who were born in the U.S. in 2000 will develop diabetes unless health patterns change. The agency also estimates that about 41 million U.S. residents have prediabetes, a condition of elevated blood-sugar levels which can lead to diabetes, heart attack and stroke. Because symptoms develop slowly, many are unaware they have the disease until "irreparable harm" has occurred, according to USA Today.
Studies also have shown that doctors are slow to diagnose the disease. A study released in June shows that doctors are subject to "clinical inertia," or a delayed medical response to treating the warning signs of diabetes.
Once diagnosed, "managing diabetes requires constant attention," and "many people are unwilling to take that on," USA Today reports. Some are unwilling to change their dietary and exercise habits, while others face greater obstacles, experts say.
Fred Williams of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists said, "It comes down to factors like money. If they don't have health insurance or have very poor insurance or it's a family of five and the income isn't very good, we can't change that. They'll oftentimes tell us, 'Doc, this is the way it is. My insurance doesn't pay for my [blood sugar level testing] strips, and I can't check four times a day, and I'm not doing it'" (Manning, USA Today, 7/17).