Guides to help doctors treat pre-diabetes patients

A set of guides highlighting individualised treatment plans and the latest updates on medicine will help doctors better manage patients with pre-diabetes and prevent it from progressing into diabetes.

The Appropriate Care Guides, published by the Agency for Care Effectiveness, were developed in support of the Ministry of Health's (MOH) "war on diabetes". The guides complement the existing MOH Clinical Practice Guidelines on Diabetes, last issued in 2014.

The guides, which will be distributed to all doctors in Singapore and are available online, set out a systematic management pathway to improve follow-ups of patients with pre-diabetes through lifestyle intervention and medication.

Lifestyle changes, such as a healthy diet, are recommended to achieve or maintain the optimal body mass index (BMI) for those with pre-diabetes.

If lifestyle changes are insufficient to improve a patient's blood glucose status, doctors could consider prescribing metformin to overweight patients.

Metformin is an oral diabetes medicine that helps control blood sugar levels.

The guides also incorporate the latest updates on oral glucose-lowering agents, and their clinical and cost-effectiveness, safety and appropriate use in patients.

More than 400,000 Singaporeans have diabetes, while another 430,000 have pre-diabetes and are at risk of developing diabetes.

Lifestyle changes, modest weight loss and moderate physical activity can potentially reverse pre-diabetes and its progression to diabetes, MOH said in a release yesterday.

For those with diabetes, good management of the condition, including lifestyle changes and medication, can prevent or delay complications such as heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, blindness and lower limb amputation.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 06, 2017, with the headline 'Guides to help doctors treat pre-diabetes patients'. Print Edition | Subscribe