Researchers from Sapienza University in Rome found younger doctors are more likely to prescribe cardiovascular drugs, while older doctors tend to urge them to change their lifestyle.
They looked at the prescribing history of 1,078 doctors and the clinical data on 9,904 of their outpatients.
More patients with high blood pressure – the highest risk factor of CV – abnormal lipid and diabetes mellitus were found to be managed by younger doctors under the age of 45.
The study found that younger doctors were more likely to prescribe blood pressure drugs (83%), in comparison to those over the age of 55 (80%).
They were also more likely to prescribe antidiabetic drugs, lipidlowering agents and antiplatelet agents, the study found.
Meanwhile doctors over the age of 55 were found to be most likely to offer smoking cessation, diet and exercise advice. They were also found to be more thorough in recording clinical data than their younger counterparts.
Professor Massimo Volpe from the Faculty of Medicine at Sapienza University, said: “While physicians recognise the importance of patients’ age as a major driver for CV risk, little evidence is available on the potential impact of the doctor’s age on how they manage clinical risk.
“Although younger doctors prescribed more drugs, this did not result in significantly better control of their patients’ major CV risk factors, suggesting that other factors have an important role to play in the clinical management of CV risk, including lifestyle changes.”The research has been published in the June issue of IJCP, the International Journal of Clinical Practice.
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