Good self-care may not help diabetics

Diabetics who think they are taking good care of themselves, and have the condition under control, might be mistaken because a new study suggests that constant vigil may not translate into improved blood sugar levels.

Researchers at Duke University surveyed the responses of 1,034 adults on their risk tolerance, concern about their future, and beliefs about their longevity.

They found that all those factors had no link with clinical measures of their hemoglobin A1c levels, which reflect average blood glucose (or blood sugar) during the previous two to three months. The study also found no differences by race or Hispanic ethnicity in how people took charge of their self-care.

Lead author Dr. Frank Sloan says that people are not always enthusiastic in managing their diabetes care, which affects overall health and the risk of diabetic complications. “What we are able to do here is bring some new measures to bear,” said Sloan, a professor of health policy and management at the Center for Health Policy at Duke University.

He says that some people believe that whatever they do, they have no control over their diabetes; others are very tolerant of the risks of diabetes; and some have a philosophy that they will live for today and not care about the future. “One result that comes through is that people who have self-control over life in general are more likely to adhere,” he said.

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