British doctors could do a lot better in their efforts to manage patients with type 2 diabetes, suggests a recent report in The Lancet.
The study of 7870 diabetics from 42 general practices showed that 31% were being managed with diet only. These patients had less rigorous monitoring than those taking drugs and had more problems, such as poor sugar control and high blood pressure.
People with type 2 diabetes might be effectively managed with diet only, but there needs to be better routine monitoring and more intensive therapy if sugar control, blood pressure, or cholesterol are not optimum, the study points out.
The researchers found a four-fold variation between practices in the proportion of patients treated with diet only - ranging from 15 to 74% of patients.
The implications are all the more serious since many people with diabetes on "diet only" treatment do not take their diet seriously, researchers said. Conservative estimates suggest that 1% of Britons have diabetes controlled by diet alone.
Clinical trials in recent years have shown the benefits of drug treatment for patients with type 2 diabetes.
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