Huang and colleagues conducted hour-long face-to-face interviews with a multiethnic sample of 701 adult, type-2 diabetes patients attending Chicago area clinics between May 2004 and May 2006. They asked patients to rank the benefits of various treatments and the daily quality-of-life burdens of diabetes-associated complications.
Patients were asked to express their preferences in a series of trade-offs. The surveyors asked, for example: would you rather have six years of life in perfect health, or ten years with an amputation"
As expected, patients were most distressed by end-stage complications, especially kidney failure, a major stroke or blindness. They were slightly less concerned about amputations or diabetic retina damage, and still less about angina, diabetic nerve or kidney damage.
Patients also disliked intensive treatments, especially intensive glucose control, with multiple daily insulin injections, and what the authors called comprehensive diabetes care, which was intensive glucose control plus other medications.
On average, patients ranked the burden of comprehensive diabetes care and intensive glucose control as equal to the burden of angina, diabetic nerve damage or kidney damage.
Patients varied widely in how they ranked treatments and complications. Those who had experience with a specific medication or complication saw them as having less of an impact on quality of life than those without such direct experience.
But many patients found both complications and treatment onerous. Between 12 and 50 percent were willing to give up 8 of 10 years of life in perfect health to avoid life with complications. More surprising, between 10 and 18 percent of patients were willing to give up 8 of 10 years of healthy life to avoid life with treatments.
The existing burden of tre
|Contact: John Easton|
University of Chicago Medical Center