April 6, 2016

Diabetes management and low income

Adherence to medication was the only self-care activity independently associated with glycemic control in a low-income population.

For low-income adults with type 2 diabetes, medication adherence may be more important than other self-care activities for optimizing glycemic control.

At a Nashville health center serving uninsured and underinsured patients, Chandra Osborn, Ph.D., MPH, studied 314 adults prescribed medications for type 2 diabetes. As reported in the Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics, many of these patients had limited education, incomes below the poverty line, and uncontrolled diabetes. Patients completed a test of long-term blood sugar control (HbA1c), and reported their demographic information and their adherence to recommended self-care activities — medication, self-monitoring of blood glucose, healthful eating and physical activity.

Medication adherence was the only self-care activity independently associated with glycemic control, after adjusting for other self-care activities and demographic and clinical characteristics otherwise associated with glycemic control.

The authors note this finding may not apply in higher socioeconomic strata, where medication adherence is better, and where there may be fewer barriers to eating well, exercising and monitoring blood glucose.

Osborn was joined in the study by Lindsay Satterwhite Mayberry, Ph.D., MS, and John Kim.

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