Hypoglycaemia burden: What support do adults with type 1 diabetes want?

New research from the Hypo-RESOLVE Project has shown what support adults with type 1 diabetes would like from healthcare professionals, family, friends, and the public

By Hannah Chatwin

Low blood glucose (known as hypoglycaemia or “hypo”) is common among adults with type 1 diabetes and can impact on many aspects of their life. However, not much is known about what kind of support they need to cope with the burden of hypoglycaemia.

We asked adults with type 1 diabetes what they wished people understood about hypoglycaemia and what people could do differently to support them.

They said they needed:

      • Healthcare professionals to offer new diabetes technologies, training on hypoglycaemia prevention, personalized care, and psychological support
      • Family and friends to remain calm during episodes and help them to prevent hypoglycaemia (e.g., by carrying hypo treatments)
      • People (incl. family, friends, colleagues, and the public) to be better informed about what is causing hypoglycaemia, the symptoms and treatment
      • Public to be more understanding of their experiences of living with the burden of hypoglycaemia.

This study shows that adults with type 1 diabetes need support to prevent, manage, and live with the risk of hypoglycaemia. Many things can be done to address their needs.

      • Diabetes services need to offer person-centred care.
      • Healthcare professionals need to ask adults with type 1 diabetes about their support needs, then develop management plans that address their needs.
      • Adults with type 1 diabetes and their family members need to be offered education and training.
      • Public awareness campaigns could help to improve general knowledge of hypoglycaemia.

For healthcare professionals supporting people with diabetes, this practical guide has recommendations for asking about (fear of) hypoglycaemia and support needs.

To read more of our research about hypoglycaemia check out our previous blogs on this topic.

Chatwin H, Broadley M, Jensen M, Hendrieckx C, Carlton J., Heller S, Amiel S, de Galan B, Hermanns N, Finke-Groene K, Speight J, & Pouwer F. Unmet support needs relating to hypoglycaemia among adults with type 1 diabetes: Results of a multi-country web-based qualitative study. Diabetic Medicine, 2021 (published online ahead of print)

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