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Linda Siminerio Part 5, Treating Prediabetes Patients

In part 5 of this Exclusive Interview, Dr. Linda Siminerio talks with Diabetes in Control Publisher Steve Freed during the ADA meeting in San Diego, California, about care for the prediabetes patient and the importance of doctors conveying the severity of the situation.

Dr. Linda Siminerio RN, PhD is a Professor of Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh and Executive Director of the University of Pittsburgh Diabetes Institute.

Transcript of this video segment:

Steve: You have been dealing with diabetic patients for many years, type 1 and type 2, now let’s take a different look at it and that’s prediabetes…now you’re sitting with a prediabetic. Is it any different than sitting with a person with type 2 diabetes?

Dr. Siminerio: Yes. Because I think in many cases people have a hard time accepting that they are at risk. And we’re still not there, where they’re getting the message from all their providers, that, “Oh, don’t worry about this. You have a touch of sugar, we’ll just keep an eye on this” when we really should be aggressively preventing it, but sometimes the patient or the person who is at risk for diabetes doesn’t get that message. There again, is shared-decision making and explaining this is why this is important now, here’s the benefits and here’s the risks.

Steve: With 90 – 100 million people with prediabetes it’s important that we discover who those people are, what do you think is the best way to find these people so you can explain to them what their risk values are and how they can change that?

Dr. Siminerio: As a first step, again it’s about communication. It’s going to be very hard to get people out on the street and say, “let’s take you in for a test.” That doesn’t work. At least at the first layer, we need to make sure that when patients do go to the doctor and they get their routine lab work done that there is a communication. I think it’s about how we communicate it. This is a glucose result. You’re at risk of diabetes, and here again are the benefits of starting to attend to this, these are the risks. Helping people to think through that, not this is borderline diabetes or a “touch of sugar.”

Steve: So you think it’s important that they understand and that really comes from the education. Because right now they don’t have a clue.

Dr. Siminerio: They don’t have a clue. And I don’t mean education not just for people who are at risk or people with diabetes. But I think education is important at a community level, so those who are making policies or doing environmental things understand these risks and providers. When you’re a provider who says you have the borderline diabetes, it’s just not appropriate anymore. We have a condition and it’s called prediabetes.

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