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Internal Medicine Report: Diabetes Education a Failure

Posted by floriza in Internal Medicine

According to a report by the Medical Foundation Research Institute, which was published in the Archives of Internal Medicine on October 10, 2011, diabetes education has failed to help diabetes sufferers in poor communities to improve their hemoglobin levels. The people studied were uninsured and in ethnic minority populations.

The study was supported by the National Institute on Aging, the National Institutes of Health, the Foundation for Informed Medical Decision Making, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

The educational initiative involved five individual telephone conversations between a trained nurse and the individuals who had type 2 diabetes. A video and workbook were also provided to the patients. The control group patients were given only a single booklet. Follow-ups were conducted at one month and six months.

Disappointing Results

While education might assist these patients, the telephone coaching was not sufficient to make a difference when the patients were tested in follow-up, even though 75% of the patients completed all five telephone sessions. The individuals said that the educational efforts assisted them, but the statistical results did not bear up these claims. Similar studies showed much more promising results from telephone education programs, although those programs generally involved more frequent calls.

The patients in the study were over the age of 39, and most were obese and making less than $15,000 in income per year. Most of them were found by internal medicine practices, and most were not well-educated about diabetes.

While the patients showed that their knowledge of diabetes increased after the intervention, their hemoglobin levels did not improve significantly compared to the control group. The researchers believe that one reason for the results may be due to the fact that the study was started at the beginning of the recession. Increased economic difficulties may have made it more difficult for the study participants to comply with the dietary recommendations they learned in the educational intervention.

What is Diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes is a chronic, progressive disease that usually develops after the age of 40. As opposed to type 1 diabetes, the body is able to make some insulin in type 2. The body has simply lost the ability to make enough insulin and use it properly. Diet and weight are usually the cause of type 2 diabetes, although heredity also comes into play.

While the disease is not usually life-threatening, it can lead to serious complications, such as blindness, heart disease, amputations, and kidney disease.

Facilities that focus on internal medicine in New Jersey in Trenton, Summit, Newark, and other parts of the country can test patients for diabetes.


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