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Many Diabetics Don't Get Necessary Blood Pressure Treatment
Date:5/19/2008

Only half of patients had their therapy changed as needed, study found

MONDAY, May 19 (HealthDay News) -- Diabetics with high blood pressure have only a 50-50 chance that their doctors will change their medications as needed or offer other treatment, a new study finds.

Treating high blood pressure in people with diabetes is very important, because elevated pressure can lead to increased risk for heart attack, stroke and kidney problems associated with diabetes, the researchers explained.

"We wanted to understand when doctors would respond to an elevated blood pressure, by changing the patient's medication or scheduling a very close follow-up," said lead researcher Dr. Eve Kerr, an associate professor of internal medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School.

"We found that primary-care providers change treatment for blood pressure about 50 percent of the time. Fifty percent is actually higher than what has been found in previous studies. Many studies have found treatment changes only 20 to 30 percent of the time," said Kerr, who's also with the Center for Clinical Management Research at the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System in Michigan.

The report on high blood pressure, which is also called hypertension, is published in the May 20 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

For the study, Kerr and her colleagues collected data on 1,169 people with diabetes who received care from the U.S. Veterans Administration during a one-year period. The patients were seen at nine different sites in three states.

At the start of the study, all patients had high blood pressure, which is defined as 140/90 mm Hg or higher. The blood pressure goal for people with diabetes is 130/80 mm Hg.

Among the patients in the study, 49 percent had their blood pressure treatment changed during a clinic visit. The change consisted of either a new medication, a change in dose of a current medicati
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