(HealthDay News) — Only about half of U.S. family doctors follow guidelines on screening patients for prediabetes, according to a study published in the November-December issue of the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine.
Noting that more than one-third of American adults have prediabetes, and most don’t know it, University of Florida researchers surveyed 1,248 family doctors in academic medical settings nationwide. They found that those doctors with a positive attitude toward prediabetes as a clinical condition were more likely to follow national screening guidelines and offer treatment for their patients, including medicine, exercise, and losing weight. Other doctors were more likely to suggest their patients make general lifestyle changes that may reduce cardiovascular disease risk, but aren’t associated with lowering blood glucose levels. Doctors also cited patients’ ability to make lifestyle changes, stay motivated, and economic resources as significant barriers to preventing diabetes.
The American Diabetes Association recommends prediabetes screening for adults who are overweight or obese and after age 45. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends screening for people between 40 and 70 years of age who are overweight or obese.
“Some physicians think that a prediabetes diagnosis ‘overmedicalizes’ patients, and some believe it is best to focus on providing general advice on healthy lifestyle,” study author Arch Mainous III, Ph.D., of the College of Public Health and Health Professions at the University of Florida, said in a university news release. “I’m hoping that we can change physician attitudes so that they follow and trust the screening and treatment guidelines, which are evidence-based, and view it as a worthwhile way to prevent diabetes.”