Simple steps manage diabetes

April 9, 2013

PCPs must consider the whole patient with type 2 diabetes, not just the blood glucose, noting that patient weight loss, weight maintenance, and exercise are huge challenges

Small lifestyle changes can improve outcomes of patients with type 2 diabetes and a more holistic approach to diabetes management-not just focus on reducing blood sugar-is needed, according to the findings of a new national primary care physician (PCP) survey.

While there are a number of type 2 diabetes treatments available, unmet needs remain.  Only 3% of physicians surveyed considered themselves “very satisfied” with current treatments for type 2 diabetes, and nearly seven in 10 are not satisfied with the ability of current oral prescription therapies to address blood glucose, weight loss, and blood pressure in a single treatment, according to the survey, conducted on behalf of Johnson & Johnson Diabetes Institute, LLC, and Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a pharmaceutical company of Johnson & Johnson, surveyed 300 PCPs online and more than 1,000 adults via telephone.

“Simple things like losing a few pounds, getting more exercise and lowering their blood pressure, in addition to reducing blood sugar, can help people with diabetes better manage their condition,” says David Horwitz , MD, chief medical officer of the Johnson & Johnson Diabetes Institute.

“PCPs agree it is important to consider the whole patient with type 2 diabetes, not just the blood glucose, and improve goal attainment, while noting that patient weight loss, weight maintenance, and adequate exercise are leading challenges,” Dr. Horwitz says.

Other survey findings include:

  • More than 80% of PCPs (88%) and the general population (84%) state that a leading challenge in the treatment of type 2 diabetes is realizing that the disease impacts the entire body.

  • Nearly all PCPs and members of the general population view losing weight (99% PCPs, 94% general population) and maintaining weight loss (98% PCPs, 93% general population) as additional challenges in the treatment of type 2 diabetes

  • Eight in 10 PCPs (83%) and members of the general population (80%) agree that it is very important for diabetes patients to incorporate adequate exercise into their routines for successful disease management.

  • While more than 90% of Americans believe they have a “good” understanding of how diabetes affects the human body, misconceptions remain.

  • Nearly two in three Americans believe that diabetes patients are predisposed to being overweight.

  • Seventy percent of Americans say people with diabetes “don’t work hard enough to lower their blood sugar,” and nearly half believe people with diabetes “don’t work hard enough to lose weight.”

PCPs also report that new diabetes diagnoses are on the rise and confirm a strong correlation between type 2 diabetes and the propensity to suffer from other medical issues.

  • Nine in 10 PCPs say new diagnoses of diabetes and obesity are increasing each year.

  • Nearly eight out of 10 physicians note the importance of managing comorbid conditions in successful management of type 2 diabetes.

  • Most PCPs also state that “some” type 2 diabetes patients are receiving treatment for cardiovascular disease (71%), depression/anxiety (69%), kidney disease (70%), sleeping problems (68%).

 “The survey shows the importance of taking a more holistic approach to diabetes management,” Dr. Horwitz says.  “We need to help patients focus beyond just the reduction of blood sugar to address other related medical issues.  

The survey results could affect treatment and formulary decisions.  “While there are a number of type 2 diabetes treatments available, the survey results point to unmet needs.  Only 3% of physicians surveyed consider themselves ‘very satisfied’ with current treatments for type 2 diabetes. Nearly seven in 10 are not satisfied with the ability of current oral prescription therapies to address blood glucose, weight loss, and blood pressure in a single treatment.  New treatment options are needed to help patients better manage type 2 diabetes,” Dr. Horwitz says.

Diabetes affects approximately 25.8 million people in the United States, or about 8.3% of the population. Type 2 diabetes accounts for 90% to 95% of all diagnosed cases of diabetes, according to the CDC.