Aims: To examine whether motivating patients to gain expertise and closely follow their risk parameters will attenuate the course of microvascular and cardiovascular sequelae of diabetes.
Methods: A randomized prospective study on 165 patients with diabetes mellitus Type 2, hypertension (> 140/90 mmHg) and hyperlipidaemia (LDL-C > 3 mmol/l), referred for consultation to a diabetes clinic in an academic hospital. Patients were randomly allocated to standard consultation (SC) or to a patient participation (PP) and teaching programme. Follow-up continued by primary care physicians.
Results: The mean follow-up was 7.7 years. SC group patients each attended eight annual consultations. The PP patients initiated on average 1.2 +/- 0.8 additional consultations per annum. The relative risk (RR) over 8 years, for the combined cardiovascular event index in the intervention (PP) vs. the control (SC) group was 0.65 (95% CI 0.41-0.89, P = 0.001). Nephropathy developed in 14 vs. 7 patients in the SC and PP groups, respectively, RR 0.50 (95% CI 0.28-0.85, P = 0.02), retinopathy developed in 35 vs. 21 patients, RR 0.60 (95% CI 0.21-0.82, P = 0.03). Throughout the study, period blood pressure, LDL-C and HbA1c were significantly lower in the PP than in the SC patients.
Conclusion: Well-informed and motivated patients, were more successful in maintaining good control of their risk factors, resulting in reduced cardiovascular risk and slower progression of microvascular disease.