October 15, 2013

Doctors/Patients Delay Diabetes Treatment Intensification

Apparently, UK doctors are similar to US doctors in taking care of diabetes type 2 patients. The same applies to patients in both countries. It is no wonder we are facing a diabetes epidemic.

Doctors are afraid to intensify diabetes treatment, and patients are not doing anything to manage their diabetes. Both the doctors and patients need a good kick in their posterior and even then, I have doubts about how effective this would be. Doctors are fearful their patients may have episodes of hypoglycemia and this keeps them from intensifying treatment. They also believe diabetes is progressive and many feel like - why waste money on these patients.

Patients by contrast, go to the doctor for more medications and expect the doctor to manage their diabetes. How naive patients can be. I have heard many of the excuses offered by patients and this tells me they are looking for that one pill that will allow them to return to their life, as they once knew it. A couple of these excuses are, “my blood sugar is out of control and nothing my doctor tells me will fix it” or “my doctor isn’t listening to me when I say my medication isn’t working.” Do these really sound like the patient has taken ownership of their diabetes? Hardly, these excuses sound to me like they expect the doctor to manage their diabetes and it isn't happening and won't happen.

Doctors and patients both need to reconsider their positions and act accordingly. The doctors know from the A1c that the patients are not managing their diabetes. The patients are refusing to take ownership of their diabetes and expecting the doctor to manage it for them. I can only advise patients to take ownership of their diabetes and learn how to manage their diabetes.

#1. Stop expecting miracles from the doctor. Your A1c tells them how you are managing your diabetes and gives them concern that more medications will not help.
#2. Start educating yourself about diabetes – start reading and acting like you should by changing your lifestyle habits. See my blog here about the lifestyle changes that you can or should manage.
#3. Find someone that is managing their diabetes and ask for their help. No, I did not say do what they do, as this may not work for you. Learn how they manage their diabetes and try these ideas, but don't become tied to them as something may work better for you.
#4. Develop a food plan that works for you. If you are able to afford the extra tests strips, test more often and learn to trust your meter as it will show you what works and does not work in a food plan.

Remember, the diabetes is your diabetes and you must manage it. The doctor can offer suggestions, but you are the only person that can put the suggestions into practice.

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