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Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública

On-line version ISSN 1680-5348Print version ISSN 1020-4989


LOPEZ STEWART, Gloria et al. Control of type 2 diabetes mellitus among general practitioners in private practice in nine countries of Latin America. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 2007, vol.22, n.1, pp.12-20. ISSN 1680-5348.

OBJECTIVES: To better understand how diabetes care and control are being administered by general practitioners/nonspecialists in private practice in nine countries of Latin America, and to identify the most significant patient- and physician-related barriers to care. METHODS: A multicenter, cross-sectional, epidemiological survey was conducted in nine countries in Latin America: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Peru, and Venezuela. General practitioners in private practice were asked to provide care and control data for patients 18 to 75 years of age with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), including demographics, medical and medication history, laboratory exams, and information on the challenges of patient management. RESULTS: Of the 3 592 patient questionnaires returned by 377 physicians, 60% of the patients had a family history of diabetes, 58% followed a poor diet, 71% were sedentary, and 79% were obese or overweight. Poor glycemic control (fasting blood glucose > 110 mg/dL) was observed in 78% of patients. The number of patients with HbA1c < 7.0% was 43.2%. Glycemic control decreased significantly with increased duration of T2DM. Comorbid conditions associated with T2DM were observed in 86% of patients; insulin use and comorbid conditions, especially those associated with microvascular complications, increased significantly disease duration. Ensuring compliance with recommended diet and exercise plans was the most-cited patient management challenge. CONCLUSIONS: Blood glucose levels are undercontrolled in T2DM patients in the private health care system in Latin America, particularly among those who have had the disease the longest (>15 years). Considering the differences between private and public health care in Latin America, especially regarding the quality of care and access to medication, further studies are called for in the public setting. Overall, a more efficient and intensive program of T2DM control is required, including effective patient education programs, adjusted to the realities of Latin America.

Keywords : Diabetes mellitus, type 2; diabetes complications; health services accessibility; patient compliance; Latin America.

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