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Med J Aust. 2006 Sep 18;185(6):305-9.

Diabetes guidelines: easier to preach than to practise?

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Diabetes Centre, St Vincent's Hospital, Sydney, NSW, Australia.



To review the management of glycaemia, blood pressure and serum lipids in a hospital outpatient diabetes clinic, the director of which co-authored the current national diabetes management guidelines.


Retrospective audit.


Outpatient diabetes clinic in a tertiary referral teaching hospital, Sydney, NSW.


96 patients with type 1 diabetes (mean age, 44.4 [SD, 12.8] years) and 509 patients with type 2 diabetes (mean age, 64.4 [SD, 12.0] years) attending the clinic in 2003, who had undergone formal review of complications.


Weight, height, control and treatment of glycaemia, blood pressure and serum lipids, and prevalence of diabetic microvascular complications.


Glycated haemoglobin (HbA(1c)) was < 7% in 13% of type 1 and 30% of type 2 diabetes patients, and > 8% in 47% and 34%, respectively. 35% of patients with type 1 diabetes and 71% of patients with type 2 diabetes were treated with antihypertensive agents. Of these patients, 29% and 24%, respectively, had blood pressure readings </= 130/80 mmHg. Among patients not treated with hypertensive agents, blood pressure readings were </= 130/80 mmHg in 60% of type 1 and 38% of type 2 diabetes patients. About 30% of patients with type 1 diabetes and 50% of those with type 2 diabetes were being treated with lipid-lowering agents; of these, about 60% had low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels < 2.6 mmol/L. Among patients not treated with lipid-lowering agents, about 40% had LDL cholesterol levels < 2.6 mmol/L. Retinopathy was documented in 52% and 18%, and nephropathy in 9% and 36% of type 1 and type 2 diabetes patients, respectively.


Despite the demonstrated benefits of tight glucose, blood pressure and lipid control in reducing the risk of macrovascular and microvascular complications in type 1 and type 2 diabetes, our results suggest that treatment targets are not being met in a large proportion of patients attending a tertiary referral hospital. Responsible practice suggests that treatment targets and the current means to achieve them should both be examined.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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