Treatment for diabetes can be as inconvenient and discomfiting as experiencing complications brought about by the illness, according to new US research.
A typical diabetes patient has a daily regimen of two or three different pills to control blood sugar levels, one or two to lower cholesterol, two or more to reduce blood pressure, a daily aspirin to prevent blood clots, in addition to monitoring diet and exercise.
Patients were most upset by end-stage complications, especially kidney failure, stroke and blindness. They were slightly less concerned about amputations and diabetic retina damage, and still less about angina, diabetic nerve and kidney damage.
On average, patients ranked the burden of daily insulin injections and intensive glucose control as equal to the burden of angina, diabetic nerve damage or kidney damage.
Study author Dr Elbert Huang said: "The people who care for patients with a chronic disease like diabetes think about that disease and about preventing long-term complications.
"The people who have a chronic disease think about their immediate lives, which includes the day-to-day costs and inconvenience of a multi-drug regimen. The consequences are often poor compliance, which means long-term complications, which will then require more medications."
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