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Too Few Patients With Prediabetes Are Being Treated

Study found many patients with higher-than-normal HbA1c levels were not being treated for it

WEDNESDAY, March 9, 2016 (HealthDay News) — A large number of Americans with prediabetes aren’t being treated for the condition, which suggests that doctors are missing opportunities to prevent diabetes, according to research published in the March-April issue of the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine.

Arch Mainous III, Ph.D., chair of the department of health services research, management and policy in the College of Public Health and Health Professions at the University of Florida in Gainesville, and colleagues analyzed 2012 federal government survey data on individuals aged 45 and older who had doctor-ordered blood tests within the past 90 days. Of these patients, 33.6 percent had glycated hemoglobin levels that indicated prediabetes.

However, very few of those patients were told they had prediabetes and only 23 percent of them began treatment for the condition, such as lifestyle changes or drug therapy, according to the researchers.

“Even with blood test results in front of them, physicians weren’t detecting prediabetes in their patients in terms of making a diagnosis or providing some sort of management or treatment,” Mainous said in a university news release. “Identifying people with prediabetes and getting them some sort of treatment has been shown to be effective for slowing the progression to diabetes or stopping it altogether, and that is the goal of prevention,” he explained. “We don’t want to manage half the population with diabetes. What we want to do is keep them from getting diabetes.”

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