Diabetics and their doctors might prioritize health concerns differently, which could affect medication and the prevention of complications, a survey released yesterday by the Taiwanese Association of Diabetes Educators showed.
The association released the survey on the eve of World Diabetes Day today.
The survey found that 64.8 percent of diabetics said controlling their blood sugar level is important for them, but 57 percent said they could not keep their hemoglobin A1c level under 7 percent — which is the target level for treatment — association president Tu Shih-te (杜思德) said.
Having high blood sugar levels for extended periods can damage internal organs, blood vessels and nerves, and might lead to complications, Formosan Diabetes Care Foundation chief executive officer Tsai Shih-Tzer (蔡世澤) said.
However, extremely low blood sugar levels are not good either, as they can increase the risk of heart attack, he said, adding that people with diabetes need to regularly test their blood sugar level.
“Another finding is that while doctors are most concerned about preventing low blood sugar levels, cardiovascular disease and kidney disease, we found that many patients are more concerned about their quality of life, so they care most about diabetic retinopathy,” Tu said.
Many diabetics are most afraid of losing their vision or having their lower limbs amputated due to diabetes, he said.
They are also worried that their prescribed medicines or insulin injections might damage the liver or kidneys, so some diabetics stop taking them and switch to alternative food supplements, Tu said.
However, controlling blood sugar levels and taking medication are the best way to prevent organ damage and other complications, he said, adding that cardiovascular disease is the most common cause of death for diabetics.
Diabetics lack accurate knowledge about the disease, so the association encourages them to discuss their treatment with doctors and make decisions together to better control their blood sugar levels and prevent complications, Tu said.
The survey collected valid responses from 113 physicians in hospital metabolism departments and from 452 people with type 2 diabetes.
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