Common Crossroads In Diabetes Management

June 2017

General Practitioners

Country of origin: USA

The prevalence and impact of type 2 diabetes are reaching epidemic proportions in the United States. Data suggest that effective management can reduce the risk for both microvascular and macrovascular complications of diabetes. In treating patients with diabetes, doctors must be prepared not only to tailor the initial treatment to the individual and his or her disease severity but also to advance treatment as necessary and in step with disease progression.

The majority of patients with diabetes are not at goal for glycated hemoglobin A1C, fasting plasma glucose, or postprandial plasma glucose levels. Although lifestyle changes based on improved diet and exercise practices are basic elements of therapy at every stage, pharmacologic therapy is usually necessary to achieve and maintain glycemic control. Oral antidiabetic agents may be effective early in the disease but, eventually, they are unable to compensate as the disease progresses. For patients unable to achieve glycemic control on 2 oral agents, current guidelines strongly urge clinicians to consider the initiation of insulin as opposed to adding a third oral agent. Recent research suggests that earlier initiation of insulin is more physiologic and may be more effective in preventing complications of diabetes. Newer, longer-lasting insulin analogs and the use of simplified treatment plans may overcome psychological resistance to insulin on the part of doctors and patients.

This article summarises the risks associated with uncontrolled fasting and postprandial hyperglycemia, briefly reviews the various treatment options currently available for type 2 diabetes, presents case vignettes to illustrate crossroads encountered when advancing treatment, and offers guidance to the osteopathic doctor on the selection of appropriate treatments for the management of type 2 diabetes.

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