Patient Apathy Linked to Poor Glycemic Control in Diabetes

By MacNeil, Jane Salodof | Clinical Psychiatry News, February 2007 | Go to article overview

Patient Apathy Linked to Poor Glycemic Control in Diabetes


MacNeil, Jane Salodof, Clinical Psychiatry News


TUCSON, ARIZ. -- Apathy is not recognized as a psychiatric disorder, but treating it may improve glycemic control in patients with type 2 diabetes, according to a poster presented at the annual meeting of the Academy of Psychosomatic Medicine.

Dr. Prasad R. Padala reported that apathy was highly prevalent in a cross-sectional study of 70 patients with diabetes mellitus who were recruited from various clinics at the Omaha division of the VA (Veterans Affairs) Nebraska Western Iowa Health Care System.

Of those patients, 44 (63%) had clinically significant apathy, as defined by a score above 30 on the Apathy Evaluation Scale (AES).

Poor glycemic control was common, too, as 47 patients (67%) had HbA[.sub.1c] values of 7% or more, reported Dr. Padala of the department of psychiatry at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha. And patients who met clinical criteria for apathy were more likely to have poor glycemic control than were those who did not.

Investigators found 34 (77%) of the 44 patients who met criteria for clinically significant apathy also met the criterion for poor glycemic control. In comparison, just half of 26 patients who did not meet the clinical definition of apathy were failing to control their glucose levels. The difference was statistically significant.

Conversely, the 23 patients with good glycemic control also were less likely to have clinically significant apathy: Just 10 of them (43%) scored high on the apathy scale.

The patients studied were 91% male with a mean age of 57.3 years and a mean Hb[A.sub.1c] of 7.9%.

"Apathy syndrome is a lack of motivation--a lack of drive--that typically is not explained by just depression or cognitive decline or delirium," Dr. …

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