The tried and true prescription for diabetes — exercise, improved diet, losing weight — doesn’t fall on deaf ears when it’s heard regularly, according to researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

Outcomes improved, they found, in patients who received lifestyle counseling at least once a month or more. In a retrospective clinical data analysis of more than 19,000 people with uncontrolled blood glucose levels, those patients were less likely to suffer from cardiovascular events or to be hospitalized for chest pain. They also were less likely to die from any cause when compared to those who were counseled less frequently, reported endocrinologist Alexander Turchin, M.D.

“As a physician, it’s encouraging to see that these conversations can change outcomes that matter to our patients,” said Turchin in a statement. “We’re not talking about just changing the numbers. We’re talking about preventing strokes, heart attacks, disability and death.”

The message is that it’s important for clinicians to continue the conversation until the patient’s blood glucose levels are under control, Turchin concluded. His study’s results support that of previous work, and strongly challenge the contrary results of a randomized controlled clinical trial, he and his colleagues asserted. 

The study appeared in Diabetes Care.