Patients in danger of developing type 2 diabetes don't believe they are at risk: survey

January 21, 2014

Only 30% of adults who possess risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes believe they are at risk, presenting physicians with challenges on how to reach these patients.

Only 30% of adults who possess risk factors for developing type 2 diabetes believe they are at risk, presenting physicians with challenges on how to reach these patients.

A recent survey of healthcare consumers conducted by the American Diabetes Association (ADA) found that only three in 10 adults over the age of 40 who have risk factors for diabetes believe they have “a great deal” or “some” risk for developing the chronic condition. Four in 10 of the at-risk adults who responded to the survey said they had no risk for diabetes.

Healthcare providers agree that at-risk patients do not understand the seriousness of their risk factors. They said that only 25% of their at-risk patients are knowledgeable about their elevated risk for diabetes or heart disease.

The survey results show a “serious disconnect” between patients and providers, according to an ADA news release. Providers surveyed said that the greatest barrier to treating at-risk patients is noncompliance, and that many patients don’t take risk factors seriously or are in denial.

“These findings suggest it is critical for providers to connect the dots with patients between risk factors and disease development,” says Virginia Peragallo-Dittko, RN, BC-ADM, the incoming chair of the ADA’s prevention committee. “Providers think their at-risk patients are making the link between risk factors and heart attack, diabetes and death, but a quarter of these patients report they don’t even have any health problems. We have to close the gap if we want to prevent future development of type 2 diabetes and heart disease.”

The ADA survey was conducted with 1,426 healthcare consumers over the age of 40 and 601 healthcare providers.

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