More Frequent Doctor Visits Improve Diabetes Control

Visits every two weeks result in fastest achievement of hemoglobin A1c, BP, LDL-C control

THURSDAY, Sept. 29 (HealthDay News) -- More frequent encounters between patients with diabetes mellitus (DM) and physicians decrease the time needed to control elevated hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c), blood pressure (BP), and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), according to a study published in the Sept. 26 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Fritha Morrison, M.P.H., from the Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, and colleagues investigated the relationship between primary care provider encounter frequency and time to HbA1c, BP, and LDL-C control in 26,496 patients with DM.

The investigators found that, upon comparing patients who visited their physicians between one to two weeks versus three to six months, the median time to control HbA1c less than 7 percent was 4.4 and 24.9 months, respectively, in those not receiving insulin, and 10.1 and 52.8 months, respectively, in those receiving insulin. The median time to achieve BP lower than 130/85 mm Hg was 1.3 and 13.9 months, respectively; and to achieve LDL-C of less than 100 mg/dL, it took 5.1 and 32.8 months, respectively. By doubling the time between physician encounters, there was a significant increase in the median time to control HbA1c in patients not receiving and receiving insulin, BP, and LDL-C by 35, 17, 87, and 27 percent, respectively, based on multivariable analysis. A progressive decrease in time to control these targets was observed with increase in encounter frequency up to once every two weeks.

"Primary care provider encounters every two weeks are associated with fastest achievement of HbA1c, BP, and LDL-C targets for patients with DM," the authors write.

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