Negative emotions jeopardise type 2 management

By Editor
15th November 2016
Latest news, Research

Negative emotions are jeopardising people managing their type 2 diabetes, according to new research.

A quarter of people who use insulin to manage their condition feel anxious or fearful about getting hypos, according to market research funded by Sanofi.

A different Sanofi-funded study published in the Diabetic Medicine journal shows that even modest and sustained improvement in blood glucose control could help prevent almost a million serious medical complications, such as eye disease and kidney disease, which could avoid billions in future NHS costs.

Dr Max Pemberton, GP and psychiatrist at St Anne’s Hospital in London said: “This research shows that people with T2 diabetes are making fear-driven decisions in the ‘here and now’ to prevent low blood glucose levels, without considering that high blood glucose levels can have serious implications on their health in the future as well.

“They need more support in order to be successful at this blood sugar balancing act.”

It’s clear that those with type 2 diabetes feel judged by a ‘crowd ‘s people who they think blame them for having the condition in the first place

Self-conscious

The UK has the worst type 2 diabetes blood glucose levels in Europe, which is why pharmaceutical company Sanofi has been funding research looking at the issue.

Around 15 per cent of people with type 2 diabetes believe that others think they are to blame and 14 per cent say they feel others believe they are greedy.

This is in combination with 25 per cent only telling close friends, family or their healthcare professional about their condition, and 58 per cent feeling self-conscious or avoiding injecting in front of other people.

Dr Pemberton, added: “It’s clear that those with type 2 diabetes feel judged by a ‘crowd ‘s people who they think blame them for having the condition in the first place.

“It’s worrying that people feel that they have to hide their condition from others for fear of being criticised. This can lead to them not injecting on time because they wait until no one is around, or making bad food decisions during social occasions or not sticking to their meal time routine, which can have an impact on their blood sugar levels.”

Dr Mike Baxter, medical therapy expert at Sanofi UK said: “Our research shows that there is a need in the UK for better support for people with type 2 diabetes – not just in terms of the medical management of the disease, but also the emotional and psychological aspects of the condition.

 ‘Psychological support’

“Almost a quarter of patients blame themselves (22 per cent), or feel they’ve let themselves down (24 per cent), if they can’t or don’t manage their blood sugars effectively.

“Instead of this feeling of blame and failure, we want to help them feel motivated to seek the help that they may need to navigate the complex blood sugar ‘balancing act’.

“At this time, although the importance of psychological support in helping people to manage their condition is well recognised and the benefits of improved blood glucose control on reducing diabetic complications is well documented, there is a clear lack of adequate psychological support for people with diabetes.

“Consequently, the level of diabetic control in a large number of people with diabetes in the UK remains unacceptably high, exposing them to high risks of developing preventable diabetic complications.”

To help people balance their blood glucose levels better, Sanofi has launched a website called Highs & Lows: Better Balance for a Better Future.

It has been developed to offer advice and support and also includes key information on recognising and managing blood sugar highs and lows for both patients and carers.

Sanofi has also produced a video about the issue, which can be viewed here.

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