Flash glucose monitoring use associated with a reduction in diabetes distress
Users of the FreeStyle Libre system in the UK have improved glycaemic control and have raised awareness of hypoglycaemia which has reduced diabetes-related distress, latest research reveals.
The result of dealing with the unrelenting demands and limitations inflicted on a person living with diabetes is an important determinant of suboptimal glycaemic control and complications in people living with Type 1 diabetes.
Understanding the cause of diabetes-related distress is important so healthcare professionals can suggest strategies to alleviate it to improve the quality of life of people living with diabetes.
Academics from the Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust used data from the nationwide audit of FreeStyle Libre conducted by the Association of British Clinical Diabetologists (ABCD).
Data was collected at baseline for 9,159 patients (96.6% living with Type 1) before the FreeStyle Libre initiation and at a seven month follow-up for 3,312 of these patients.
At baseline, researchers collected data on HbA1c values (level of glucose control in a person over the previous 2-3 months), Gold score (a measure of hypoglycaemia awareness) and diabetes-related distress scores.
The researchers used the two-item diabetes distress instrument which assesses feelings of being overwhelmed by the demands of living with diabetes and the feeling of often failing with the diabetes regimen.
At the follow-ups, they collected data on the diabetes distress score, HbA1c, Gold score and the number of scans per day with the FreeStyle Libre system, as well as time in range.
The researchers found that in this large cohort of people living with Type 1 diabetes, moderate to severe diabetes-related distress was prevalent (53%) and is associated with higher HbA1c, impaired awareness of hypoglycaemia and women were more affected than men.
Their analysis at the follow-up showed that, with the use of the FreeStyle Libre system, moderate to severe distress prevalence reduced from 50% to 26%.
These improvements in diabetes distress were associated with a lower follow-up of HbA1c and a lower Gold score.
Lead researcher Dr Harshal Deshmukh said: “This is the largest UK study looking at factors associated with diabetes distress scores in people with Type 1, before and after the use of FreeStyle Libre.
“The use of flash glucose monitoring was associated with an improvement in diabetes-related distress.
“Engagement with technology is an empowering way for people living with diabetes to self-manage their condition effectively – with both physical and psychological benefits.”
The results are now available in the latest issue of the ‘Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism’ journal.
To access the results, click here.