How does diabetes affect daily life, and what are the unmet needs of people with diabetes?

Research from the US aims to better understand the impact of diabetes upon day-to-day functioning and the barriers to diabetes management.

By Hannah Chatwin

Despite advances in therapies and technologies, the burden of living with diabetes remains high. People living with diabetes face daily challenges in their self-management and quality of life. To understand more about the impact of diabetes, the diaTribe Foundation and dQ&A surveyed over 7,000 people with diabetes and their loved ones. Results of the survey were shared at a public workshop (including invited representatives from the US Food & Drug Administration) to communicate the perspectives of the diabetes community and give FDA representatives a better sense of the challenges of diabetes.

Most individuals reported that diabetes had a negative impact on their life, in terms of future planning, taking on life’s challenges, school or work success, self-confidence, and relationships. People with type 1 diabetes (T1D) ranked blood glucose management and time commitment/burden of management as having the greatest impact. People with type 2 diabetes (T2D) ranked diet and weight management as having the greatest impact. Almost half of respondents with T1D and almost one-third of those with T2D reported treatment or taking medications for depression. People with T1D reported cost as the biggest barrier to better management, while people with T2D reported difficulties with diet and exercise as the biggest barrier. Many individuals wanted simpler therapies that require less thought, medications that had less side effects, and more effective systems.

These survey findings show that diabetes has a significant impact on day-to-day life in many areas beyond physical health. The study shows that therapies and technologies need to be developed with quality of life and other aspects of day-to-day functioning in mind. They also need to be accessible and affordable, such that cost is no longer a barrier to better diabetes management.

To read more about quality of life, check out our previous blogs on this topic here.

Gopisetty, D., Levine, B., Liu, N., Younge, P., Brown, A., Close, K. L., & Wood, R. (2018). How does diabetes affect daily life? A beyond-A1c perspective on unmet needs. Clinical Diabetes, 2018; 36, 133-137.

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