The article highlights the common dilemma facing diabetes specialists and a situation that greatly concerns me:
Research emphatically shows that diet and exercise can help protect you from Type 2 diabetes (by lowering lower blood pressure, bringing down cholesterol levels, helping reduce sleep apnea, and achieving better overall health), and yet patients at high risk of getting the potentially dangerouis disease aren't likely to follow the advice.
Reporter Kolata articulately observes:
"It is a classic conundrum in medicine: if doctors know that patients can help themselves without taking drugs, but they also know that patients are not likely to follow this advice, what should they do?
"Should diabetes specialists even bother to advise patients to try helping themselves through diet and exercise first, before prescribing drugs?"
Journalist Kolata then discusses a large federal study which presented a compelling case showing that lifestyle changes are effective.
Even so, a number of diabetes experts such as Dr. David M. Nathan, who directs the diabetes center at Massachusetts General Hospital and is a member of a group that formulated new guidelines, believe that meds should come into the equation right away:
“Don’t start with lifestyle alone, even for newly diagnosed people. Most end up failing the lifestyle recommendations," he tells Times reporter Kolata.