Study: Many diabetes patients overtreated

Published 10:04 am Wednesday, December 9, 2015

By Lorna Benson

Many Type 2 diabetes patients are being overtested and overtreated, according to a new finding from Mayo Clinic researchers.

Their study, published today in the BMJ medical journal, found that six out of 10 patients who don’t require insulin have their average blood sugar levels checked far more frequently than guidelines recommend, a practice that can lead to potentially harmful, excessive treatments.

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Most clinical guidelines for these patients recommend testing hemoglobin A1C, which shows a patient’s average blood sugar levels over a three-month period, once or twice per year.

Lead researcher Dr. Rozalina McCoy said the over-testing led to over-treatment, which can be harmful.

“Nine percent had their treatment intensified even further. And that was surprising and alarming,” she said.

The Mayo scientists’ findings are based on an analysis of medical records of more than 31,000 U.S. adults with Type 2 diabetes, which is linked to being overweight.

McCoy said the findings should inspire patients always to ask if a test is really needed.