Patients frequently refuse insulin therapy, delaying blood sugar control

Patients with type 2 diabetes who have high levels of blood sugar are at greater risk of serious complications such as chronic kidney disease, heart disease and blindness. While lifestyle changes and medications can help some patients better control their blood sugar levels, type 2 diabetes tends to progress, and patients typically need more intense treatment to continue to maintain blood sugar control. Insulin offers the most robust way to control blood glucose, but insulin therapy is often delayed, sometimes by several years. A new study by investigators from Brigham and Women’s Hospital finds that more than 40 percent of patients refuse a physician’s recommendation of insulin therapy. The study also finds that patients who decline insulin therapy had worse blood sugar control and it took them significantly longer to lower their blood sugar levels than patients who began insulin therapy. The team’s findings are published in Diabetic Medicine.

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