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12-09-2011 | Diabetes | Article

Early diabetes diagnosis fails to prevent diabetic complications in Hungary


Free abstract

MedWire News: The prevention opportunities afforded by the early diagnosis of diabetes have not been realized in the Hungarian population, say researchers.

In Hungary, diet restriction and physical activity are the recommended approaches for preventing the onset of complications in diabetes diagnosed at an early stage.

However, research published in the journal Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice suggests that early diagnosis and initiation of diet therapy is only effective in lowering the prevalence of retinopathy, and not in reducing the risk for any other diabetic complications.

Led by Janos Sandor (University of Debrecen, Hungary), the investigators identified 1168 Type 2 diabetes patients (median age 66.7 years) registered with any of the 72 general practitioners (GPs) across the country who had previously participated in The Hungarian General Practitioners' Morbidity Sentinel Stations Program.

The program was established in 1998 with the aim of creating a system that would provide valid data on morbidity of selected diseases in Hungary.

The authors compared the date of diabetes diagnosis with details of diabetic complications to determine whether Hungarian GPs had been able to take advantage of early diagnosis.

All the patients had previously been classified into either an early diagnosis group if treatment had been started with diet therapy, or a late diagnosis group if they had begun a medication regimen.

The complications recorded were: hypertension, ischemic heart disease (IHD), lipid disorders, microalbuminuria, nephropathy, neuropathy, peripheral vascular disease (PVD), retinopathy, and stroke.

Analysis revealed that retinopathy occurred more frequently in the late versus the early diagnosis group, at an odds ratio (OR) of 1.62.

However, no clinically significant benefit of early diagnosis was observed for any other type of diabetes complication.

"According to these results it seems that all the prevention opportunities which had been potentially established by the early diagnosis of diabetes apart from retinopathy could not be realized in Hungary," say the authors.

They say that the application of currently recommended intensive initial treatments should be more effectively applied in practice.

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2011

By Sally Robertson