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People with diabetes admit intentional blood sugar hike to avoid hypos

By Editor
5th October 2020
Self management, Self-monitoring of blood glucose Type 1 diabetes Type 2 diabetes

A high percentage of people with diabetes are deliberately letting their blood sugar reach high levels in a bid to avoid hypos, a new survey has found.

The poll, carried out as part of Hypo Awareness Week, has discovered that nearly three quarters (73%) of people living with type 1 diabetes are intentionally increasing their blood sugars so they go above recommended levels.

Among those with type 2 diabetes, 65% are doing the same as they are in fear of experiencing hypoglycaemia.

The impact of COVID-19 on the diabetes community is all the more reason to provide increased support on blood glucose management Michael Connellan, Head of External Affairs at the type 1 diabetes charity JDRF

A total of 201 people with diabetes took part in the Sanofi survey, which was conducted before the COVID-19 outbreak. The findings also found that 71% of people questioned with type 1 diabetes and 67% with type 2 diabetes can feel a bit depressed about the long-term health impacts of their condition.

Psychological support

Despite this, more than half (53%) of those with type 1 diabetes and 61% with type 2 diabetes admit they would like better access to psychological support, with only 3% of those in the survey saying they regularly see a member of a mental health team.

Commenting on the survey findings, Professor Katharine Barnard, chartered health psychologist, said: The extent of fear of hypoglycaemia and the stigma that people are experiencing is worrying.”

Michael Connellan, Head of External Affairs at the type 1 diabetes charity JDRF, said: “Hypo Awareness Week is an opportunity to raise concerns surrounding blood glucose management and how hypos in particular impact people’s daily lives. These survey findings shed light on why people with different types of diabetes find managing the condition so challenging, demonstrating the need for improved awareness of these challenges.

“The impact of COVID-19 on the diabetes community is all the more reason to provide increased support on blood glucose management. The provision of good information – as well as newer technologies – is key.”

Simon O’Neill, Director of Health Intelligence from Diabetes UK, said: “These results remind us of the need for people living with diabetes to be offered the right support, which has proven to be key in helping people to control their condition and to reduce their risk of complications in the long-term.

“This year has been particularly challenging for people living with diabetes and COVID-19 has drawn attention to the wider implications, recognising that diabetes doesn’t just affect a person’s physical health. With the need for constant monitoring and management, diabetes can impose a huge emotional burden too, which can adversely impact a person’s ability to properly self-manage their condition. Despite this, we have found psychological support for people with diabetes is too often missing, and this has to change.”

Professor Mike Baxter, Medical Therapy Expert for Sanofi, added: “The survey results show that psychological support, in addition to routine medical care, may have a positive effect on the quality of life and feelings of wellbeing of a person with diabetes. As more healthcare appointments move online it is even more important that people with diabetes feel comfortable with self-managing their condition.

“At Sanofi, we are committed to working collaboratively and in partnership with healthcare professionals, the diabetes community and health authorities to focus beyond pharmacological intervention to provide a more holistic approach to deliver individualised diabetes care.”

To watch Professor Katharine Barnard’s comments in full on the survey findings, click here.

To mark Hypo Awareness Week, Sanofi Professor Barnard has compiled a list of top tips to help healthcare professionals individualise care for people with diabetes. To watch the video, click here.

Photo by Shane on Unsplash

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