A study of a group of manufacturing workers published in the American Journal of Managed Care found better care can make a difference, and can even compensate for being sicker at the outset, according to a news release.
Better care was defined in the study as having a doctor who tracked three key health measures: glycated hemoglobin, lipids and microalbuminuria. The study tracked 1,797 employees with diabetes from Alcoa Aluminum, who were followed from 2003 to 2009.
Researchers compared long-term health results of those diabetics whose doctors tracked all three measures, compared with diabetics whose doctors did not.
The study looked at time to progression for four common complications from diabetes: coronary artery disease, stroke, heart failure and renal disease.
Those who did not have all three health measures tracked were more likely to have heart failure or renal disease, and those who had all three measured tracked from the beginning were less likely to have complications overall.
Only 15% of the diabetics in the group had all three measures checked at the beginning of the study period.
Researchers noted the difficulty in assessing how care plays out over time. Did those patients who had the most symptoms at the beginning seek better care, or take better care of themselves in other ways?
It is noteworthy that in the primary test of the hypothesis, the baseline characteristics created an uneven playing field, with more ostensibly sick patients having a higher rate of better care; thus, the deck was stacked against those with better care having better outcomes, an effect that began to be visually apparent in the third observation year, the researchers wrote.
For the full study, visit http://www.ajmc.com/publications/issue/2014/2014-vol20-n1/process-of-care-compliance-is-associated-with-fewer-diabetes-complications/4.
To see what else is trending, visit www.Nurse.com/Diabetes.