Ongoing Diabetes Support

Type 2 diabetes patients may need continuous advice and support

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Diabetes does not go away in a couple days. It lasts for years, even a lifetime. For this reason, patients need continuous support from their family and friends.

Ongoing support from a doctor doesn't hurt either.

Newly diagnosed patients with type 2 diabetes may need continuous advice from doctors instead of one educational meeting when they are first diagnosed. This continuous support could improve outcomes.

"See your doctor regularly if you have diabetes."

It can't hurt to be educated about your disease. If you know more about your condition, you may have a better chance of overcoming that condition. But one exposure to vital information may not be enough for people with diabetes. These patients may need continuing support.

Results from a recent study show that type 2 diabetes patients who attended a one-day self-management education program - called DESMOND - did not have much better outcomes than those who received normal care.

According to Professor Kamlesh Khunti, of the University of Leicester and one of the study's authors, this study "demonstrates that these patients need care planning and ongoing structured education rather than a one-off program when they are diagnosed - in order to see continued benefits with regard to lifestyle and biomedical outcomes."

While Professor Khunti and colleagues found that patients in the education group benefited significantly in four out of five health beliefs, they did not see significant improvement in other measures of diabetes.

HbA1c levels (a measure of blood sugar over time) decreased a similar amount for patients in each group.

After three years, levels of depression and quality of life were not different.

Despite these findings, the authors believe that the one-day educational session is good for patients with regards to psychosocial outcomes. That is, the intervention could improve certain aspects of mental health in diabetes patients.

"Although these benefits are important, it remains uncertain at what stage, if ever, biomedical benefits emerge in people with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes and whether, in the longer term, a relation between the two translates into more effective self-management to maintain [blood sugar] control," the researchers say.

They conclude that "participants may need further education and ongoing support to successfully manage their condition and to achieve improvements to clinical outcomes and self-management behaviors long term."

For their study, the researchers looked at data from 731 type 2 diabetes patients. The newly diagnosed patients were split into two groups: one that attended the DESMOND program and one that received the usual care from their primary doctor.

The study, which was funded by Diabetes UK, is published in BMJ.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
June 20, 2012
Last Updated:
October 26, 2012