Adults with type 2 diabetes were better able to reduce both their weight and blood pressure, and maintain these benefits over time, when following an individually tailored self-management program, researchers from the Netherlands report.
"In contrast to non-participants, patients who followed the course were successful in making and maintaining changes in their self-care and experienced significant improvements in their physical health," said Dr Bart Thoolen.
Thoolen, of Utrecht University, and colleagues followed 196 patients with recently diagnosed type 2 diabetes who were between 50 and 70 years old and who were currently receiving either usual or intensive medical diabetes management as part of the Dutch arm of an ongoing type 2 diabetes treatment study.
How the study was done
Some of these patients were randomly assigned to participate in a three month proactive self-management course to help them tackle problem areas in their diabetes care, while others were not.
The course included two one-hour individual sessions and four two-hour, biweekly group sessions led by a trained nurse.
The sessions hit on topics such as the importance of diet, exercise, medications, and goal setting.
What the study showed
Nine months after completing the self-management course, participants had a net reduction in body mass index of 0.39, while non-participants had a net increase in body mass index of 0.38, the investigators report in Diabetes Care.
Patients who got both the self-management course and intensive medical care achieved the lowest systolic blood pressure (the top number in the reading) - 128.3 millimetres mercury on average, of all the patient groups.
By comparison, patients receiving only usual care had an average systolic blood pressure of 144.9 millimetres mercury.
Combined self-managed and intensive medical care was also associated with improved control of blood sugar and cholesterol, the investigators report.
Thoolen thinks a self-management course that emphasises realistic goal-setting and planning to achieve lifestyle change can be a valuable addition to medical care for patients with diabetes. – (Reuters Health)
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