On average adults with diabetes have at least three other chronic health conditions. It means their doctors face the challenge of addressing multiple complex conditions in a brief office visit.
Researchers at U-M and Veterans Affairs surveyed 92 doctors and their nearly 1,200 patients who had diabetes and hypertension. Of the 714 pairs, 28 percent did not prioritize health conditions the same way. The discord was strongest among the sickest patients.
"One possible explanation for this is that patients with poor health or competing demands may be more likely to face functional limitations, financial stress, and other barriers to care," she said. "For these patients, symptomatic problems might be of utmost importance because they exacerbate their existing challenges."
An estimated 18 million people in the U.S. have diabetes and another 5.7 million are undiagnosed. The number has nearly tripled since 1980 and people over age 65 account for 37 percent of all cases, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Source: Journal of General Internal Medicine