Many adults with diabetes delay insulin therapy
(Reuters Health) - Three in ten adults with type 2 diabetes who need to start taking insulin to lower their blood sugar don’t begin treatment when their doctors tell them to, a recent study suggests.
On average, these patients delay insulin for about two years, researchers report in Diabetic Medicine.
“This matters to patients because insulin therapy is typically offered to patients with high blood sugar levels,” said senior study author Dr. Alexander Turchin of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston.
“If the patient does not start insulin therapy and does not initiate any other changes to bring their blood sugar levels down, their blood sugar can stay high for years, leading to diabetes complications such as blindness, kidney failure and heart attacks,” Turchin said by email.
Globally, about one in 10 adults have diabetes, according to the World Health Organization. Most have type 2 diabetes, which is associated with obesity and aging and occurs when the body can’t make or process enough of the hormone insulin.
Medications as well as lifestyle changes such as improved diet and exercise habits can help manage diabetes and keep symptoms in check. When diabetes isn’t well managed, however, dangerously high blood sugar can eventually lead to blindness, amputations, kidney failure, heart disease and stroke.
While some previous research has found diabetics often fail to start insulin when it’s needed, it’s been unclear how much of this is due to doctors failing to prescribe the medication versus patients refusing to take it, Turchin Continue reading