According to a recent survey, primary care physicians may be unprepared to help their patients avoid diabetes. The findings are particularly concerning in view of the fact that about one-third of Americans over age 18 have prediabetes and 90 percent of them don’t know it.
A survey of 1,000 primary care physicians, conducted last year by Johns Hopkins, found “significant gaps in the group’s overall knowledge of risk factors, diagnostic criteria and recommended management/prevention practices for prediabetes.” For instance, less than half of physicians surveyed chose correct values for fasting glucose and other tests that would identify prediabetes, and so are unlikely to notice problematic results.
The study’s authors suggest that the gaps may result from physician education which gives scant attention to diet and exercise and focuses on treatment of the disease rather than prevention of it. Risk factors for prediabetes – missed by many in physicians surveyed – include being over 45, overweight, exercise less than three times per week and are of African American, Latino, Native American or Asian American extraction.
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