Randomized trials have shown that aggressively managing hyperglycemia reduces the frequency and severity of microvascular complications in type II diabetes mellitus. A substantial proportion of diabetic veterans continue to have poor glycemic control and suffer preventable complications.
The principal objectives are to conduct a comprehensive analysis of self-care behaviors affecting glycemic control in stable, insulin-treated, type II diabetic veterans and to develop multivariate models predictive of poor control and hypoglycemia.
Prospective subjects were randomly selected from pharmacy files at the Albuquerque, Tucson and Phoenix VAMCs. Consenting patients were given a battery of 8 standardized questionnaires on all aspects of diabetes self-care. At the beginning, a subset measured their blood sugars before meals and at bedtime for 8 weeks. Multivariate analysis was used to examine the relationship between questionnaire and monitoring data and HbA1c at 0, 6 and 12 months.
From 400+ enrolled subjects, 150 completed the monitoring protocol. Optimal testing times identified for once- and twice-daily monitoring differed from those used in conventional practice. Intensified monitoring resulted in a sustained reduction of HbA1c that was attributed to a decrease in late postprandial glucose levels. Innovative multivariate methods were developed to quantify the contribution of each reading to glucose load; the fasting glucose elevation was shown to be the greatest contributor to an elevated HbA1c. Poor compliance with intensified monitoring was related to perceived inability to perform self-care and barriers to self-monitoring but not to lack of motivation, cognitive dysfunction, depression, or lack of diabetes knowledge. Among the entire cohort, we found that age, education level, preferred language, depression score, mini-mental status score and diabetes duration were independent predictors of diabetes knowledge. Analysis of racial differences in glycemic control showed that Black subjects had significantly higher baseline HbA1c and received lower doses of insulin than non-Hispanic Whites. These findings could not be attributed to ethnic differences in attitudes, BMI, diet, exercise, or other treatment modalities. No discrepancies were found in the control of macrovascular risk factors. Obese patients scored lower on scales on adherence to self-care and self-care abilities, were more highly educated and depressed, and more likely to perceive physical disabilities and barriers to exercise. Quantifying lifestyle factors showed that obesity was more closely associated with excessive caloric and fat intake than lack of exercise. The Diabetes Care Profile was found to be an exceptional instrument for rating attitudes; 8 of 14 subscales were correlated with HbA1c or scores on other psychological instruments. Individual scores were also correlated with HbA1c after adjusting for BMI, dietary compliance, exercise, and treatment intensity, suggesting that certain attitudes drive other important self-care behaviors. Measurements of routine physical activities showed that many subjects were sedentary and that limitations were mostly due to irreversible disabilities and diabetes complications. Adherence to ADA dietary recommendations was poor and attributable to social and occupational factors but not to poor attitudes, lack of knowledge, or disabilities related to shopping or cooking.
Current methods for blood glucose monitoring and intensification of insulin treatment may have to be completely revised. Psychosocial profiling should be incorporated into the standard evaluation of diabetic veterans. Diabetes care programs should be restructured to include periodic reassessment of knowledge, level of depression, and cognitive functioning. Insulin management should accommodate the special needs of minorities because of their vulnerability to poor glycemic control. Quantification of dietary intake should be done in obese patients because of the strong association between BMI and dietary indiscretion. Dietary modifications must accommodate social and occupational factors and cannot rely only upon educational or motivational strategies. Together, these findings suggest that fundamental revisions should take place in microvascular risk management programs for veterans.
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- Shah JH, Duckworth WC, Dalton C, Adam KD, Bokhari SU, Wendel CS, Hoffman RM, Murata GH. A Parsimonious Cost-Effective Blood Glucose (BG) Monitoring (BGM) Strategy for Insulin-Treated Type 2 Diabetic (DM-2) Patients (pts.). Paper presented at: American Diabetes Association Annual Scientific Session; 2001 Jun 1; Philadelphia, PA.
- Adam KD, Dalton C, Murata GH, Duckworth WC, Wendel CS, Bokhari SU, Montagnini MT, Shah JH. Factors Affecting Diabetes Knowledge in Insulin-Treated Veterans with Type II Diabetes Mellitus. Paper presented at: VA HSR&D National Meeting; 2001 Feb 1; Washington, DC.
- Hoffman RM, Wendel CS, Dalton C, Adam KD, Duckworth WC, Shah JH, Bokhari SU, Murata GH. Selecting a Parsimonious Blood Glucose Monitoring Strategy for Insulin-Treated Veterans with Type II Diabetes Mellitus. Paper presented at: VA HSR&D National Meeting; 2001 Feb 1; Washington, DC.
- Murata GH, Adam KD, Hoffman RM, Wendel CS, Dalton C, Montagnini MT, Bokhari SU, Shah JH, Duckworth WC. The Risks of Hypo- and Hyperglycemia in Insulin-Treated Type II Diabetic Veterans. Paper presented at: VA HSR&D National Meeting; 2001 Feb 1; Washington, DC.
- Murata GH, Hoffman RM, Wendel CS, Adam KD, Dalton C, Montagnini MT, Bokhari SU, Duckworth WC, Shah JH. Can Insulin-Treated Veterans With Type II Diabetes Mellitus Monitor Their Blood Sugars Four Times Daily? Paper presented at: VA HSR&D National Meeting; 2001 Feb 1; Washington, DC.
- Wendel CS, Dalton C, Shah JH, Adam KD, Bokhari SU, Montagnini MT, Duckworth WC, Murata GH. Access Barriers, Lifestyle and Glycemic Control in Insulin-Treated Veterans with Type II Diabetes - A Comparison of Hispanic and Non-Hispanic Whites in the Southwest. Paper presented at: VA HSR&D National Meeting; 2001 Feb 1; Washington, DC.
Behavior (patient), Diabetes, Self-care