While practice nurses understanding of the definition of insulin resistance is excellent (80% know it is the inability of the body to respond to its own insulin1), the number of patients that it affects is being greatly underestimated. Eighty-five percent of practice nurses1 (and 60% of GPs2) are unaware that at least 92% of people with type 2 diabetes are insulin resistant3.
An independent survey carried out by Taylor Nelson Sofres* has revealed that 79% of practice nurses understand that insulin resistance is related to the development of cardiovascular complications.1. However, it may be extremely difficult to optimise treatment without widespread appreciation of the prevalence of insulin resistance, a fundamental cause of type 2 diabetes.
Gwen Hall, (practice nurse/trainer, Haslemere) is also keen that practice nurses realise their potential in the management of type 2 diabetes, Practice nurses are often responsible for regular patient reviews. These are an ideal opportunity to involve diabetes patients in their own care and educate them about insulin resistance, which is not only implicated in the causal factors of type 2 diabetes but the onset or progression of complications. With improved patient understanding and full use of available treatment options, including therapies which resensitise the body to its own insulin, glycaemic goals may be reached.
Cardiovascular disease is the principal cause of death amongst these patients4. Treatment of insulin resistance improves glycaemic control. The UKPDS study has shown that maintenance of glycaemic control may reduce the risks of CV complications associated with type 2 diabetes5,6, comments Dr Peter Tasker of Primary Care Diabetes UK. New treatments that increase the bodys sensitivity to insulin address this problem and may therefore impact on cardiovascular risk factors, but without the knowledge that insulin resistance is a problem for nearly all type 2 diabetes patien
Contact: Becky Down
Shire Hall Communications