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Original article

Vol. 141 No. 2728 (2011)

Regional differences of glycaemic control in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus in Switzerland: a national cross-sectional survey

  • PA Gerber
  • D Spirk
  • M Thoenes
  • R Lehmann
Cite this as:
Swiss Med Wkly. 2011;141:w13218


AIMS: We investigated contemporary diabetes care, quality of glycaemic control, and progression of obesity in patients with diabetes mellitus in different cultural regions within Switzerland.

METHODS: Overall, 1121 patients treated for type 2 diabetes mellitus by 134 general practitioners were enrolled in this representative, national, cross-sectional survey and were followed retrospectively from the start of diabetes treatment. Patients were classified into four cultural regions; the German, French, Italian and Romansh speaking parts of Switzerland.

RESULTS: During 5.5 ± 5.1 years of diabetes treatment (retrospective survey), mean HbA1c decreased from 8.28 ± 2.01% to 7.03 ± 1.24%, fasting glucose decreased from 9.97 ± 3.86 to 7.52 ± 2.23 mmol/l, and BMI decreased from 30.2 ± 5.5 to 29.8 ± 5.6 kg/m2 (p <0.001 for all parameters). Insulin therapy was associated with a larger improvement of mean HbA1c (–1.66 ± 2.33% vs. –1.15 ± 1.91%, p = 0.001) and an increase in BMI (+0.36 ± 2.92 vs. –0.63 ± 2.60 kg/m2, p <0.001). At the time when the cross-sectional survey was conducted, the mean HbA1c and fasting glucose were higher in the Italian part compared to other regions (7.72 ± 1.60% and 9.03 ± 2.49 mmol/l, respectively, p <0.001), and lower in the German part (6.89 ± 1.02% and 7.25 ± 2.02 mmol/l, respectively, p <0.001). In comparison to other regions, biguanides were more often used in the French part (86.1% versus 75.7%), insulin secretagogues in the Italian part (69.9% versus 37.8%), thiazolidinedions in the Romansh part (34.1% versus 17.8%), and insulin was more often used in the German part of Switzerland (27.0% versus 17.1%) (p <0.01 for all parameters).

CONCLUSIONS: Efforts to identify regional-cultural differences and attempts to overcome associated potential barriers should be emphasised in any health care system when aiming for better diabetic patient care.


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