Factors associated with persistent poorly controlled diabetes mellitus: clues to improving management in patients with resistant poor control.



Patients with persistent poorly controlled diabetes mellitus (PPDM), defined as an uninterrupted hemoglobin A1c >8.0% for ≥1 year despite standard care, are at high risk for complications. Additional research to define patient factors associated with PPDM could suggest barriers to improvement in this group and inform the development of targeted strategies to address these patients' resistant diabetes.


We analyzed patients with type 2 diabetes from a multi-site randomized trial. We characterized patients with PPDM relative to other patients using detailed survey data and multivariable modeling.


Of 963 patients, 118 (12%) had PPDM, 265 (28%) were intermittently poorly controlled, and 580 (60%) were well-controlled. Patients with PPDM had younger age, earlier diabetes diagnosis, insulin use, higher antihypertensive burden, higher low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and lower statin use relative to well-controlled patients. Among patients with objective adherence data (Veterans Affairs patients), a larger oral diabetes medication refill gap was associated with PPDM.


Strategies are needed to target-specific barriers to improvement among patients whose diabetes is resistant to standard diabetes care. Our data suggest that strategies for targeting PPDM should accommodate younger patients' lifestyles, include medication management for insulin titration and comorbid disease conditions, and address barriers to self-management adherence.





Published Version (Please cite this version)


Publication Info

Crowley, Matthew J, Rob Holleman, Mandi L Klamerus, Hayden B Bosworth, David Edelman and Michele Heisler (2014). Factors associated with persistent poorly controlled diabetes mellitus: clues to improving management in patients with resistant poor control. Chronic illness, 10(4). pp. 291–302. 10.1177/1742395314523653 Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/29990.

This is constructed from limited available data and may be imprecise. To cite this article, please review & use the official citation provided by the journal.



Matthew Janik Crowley

Associate Professor of Medicine

Diabetes, Hypertension, Health Services Research


Hayden Barry Bosworth

Professor in Population Health Sciences

Dr. Bosworth is a health services researcher and Deputy Director of the Center of Innovation to Accelerate Discovery and Practice Transformation (ADAPT)  at the Durham VA Medical Center. He is also Vice Chair of Education and Professor of Population Health Sciences. He is also a Professor of Medicine, Psychiatry, and Nursing at Duke University Medical Center and Adjunct Professor in Health Policy and Administration at the School of Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His research interests comprise three overarching areas of research: 1) clinical research that provides knowledge for improving patients’ treatment adherence and self-management in chronic care; 2) translation research to improve access to quality of care; and 3) eliminate health care disparities. 

Dr. Bosworth is the recipient of an American Heart Association established investigator award, the 2013 VA Undersecretary Award for Outstanding Achievement in Health Services Research (The annual award is the highest honor for VA health services researchers), and a VA Senior Career Scientist Award. In terms of self-management, Dr. Bosworth has expertise developing interventions to improve health behaviors related to hypertension, coronary artery disease, and depression, and has been developing and implementing tailored patient interventions to reduce the burden of other chronic diseases. These trials focus on motivating individuals to initiate health behaviors and sustaining them long term and use members of the healthcare team, particularly pharmacists and nurses. He has been the Principal Investigator of over 30 trials resulting in over 400 peer reviewed publications and four books. This work has been or is being implemented in multiple arenas including Medicaid of North Carolina, private payers, The United Kingdom National Health System Direct, Kaiser Health care system, and the Veterans Affairs.

Areas of Expertise: Health Behavior, Health Services Research, Implementation Science, Health Measurement, and Health Policy


David Edward Edelman

Professor of Medicine

My general interests are in the improve quality of care for chronic illness, using diabetes as a model. While I have performed research on screening for, diagnosis of, and clinical severity of unrecognized diabetes in patient care settings, my current line of work is in using health systems interventions to prevent cardiovascular disease, and to improve outcomes from comorbid diabetes and hypertension.

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