Purpose: The purpose of this study was to explore how adults with prediabetes perceive their risk of developing diabetes and examine their preferences for evidence-based treatment options to prevent diabetes.
Methods: A qualitative study was conducted in 2 large Midwest primary care practices, involving in-depth semistructured interviews with 35 adult patients with prediabetes.
Results: This ethnically diverse (77% nonwhite) sample of middle-aged primary care patients exhibited multiple diabetes risk factors. Knowledge gaps about prediabetes and its medical management were pervasive. Most patients overestimated the risk of developing diabetes and were not familiar with evidence-based treatment options for prediabetes. They suggested that receiving brief, yet specific information about these topics during the study interview motivated them to act. The majority of participants considered both intensive lifestyle intervention and metformin acceptable treatment options. Many preferred initial treatment with intensive lifestyle intervention but would take metformin if their efforts at lifestyle change failed and their primary care physician recommended it. Some participants expressed wanting to combine both treatments.
Conclusions: This qualitative study highlights potential opportunities to promote patient-centered dialogue about prediabetes in primary care settings. Providing patients specific information about the risk of developing diabetes and evidence-based treatment options to prevent or delay its onset may encourage action. Physicians' prediabetes counseling efforts should be informed by the finding that most patients consider both intensive lifestyle intervention and metformin acceptable treatment options.
© 2016 The Author(s).