How does a child’s hypoglycaemia affect the parent’s quality of life?

New research from the Hypo-RESOLVE Project examines the burden of hypoglycaemia on parents

By Dr Edith Holloway

Hypoglycaemia (low blood glucose or “hypo”) is a common side-effect of insulin treatment for type 1 diabetes. For the person living with diabetes, hypos can significantly impact daily life and well-being.

When the person is a child or teenager, then parents and caregivers play an important role in the daily management of the condition. So, what is the impact on their quality of life?

This research was conducted as part of the the HypoRESOLVE (Hypoglycaemia – Redefining SOLutions for better liVEs) study.

The authors reviewed twelve studies from six countries. Overall, the researchers found that children’s hypos have a negative impact on the emotional well-being of parents.  The study showed that:

  • When children experience hypos more often, parents have higher levels of fear of hypos, compared to children who experience hypos less often
  • Parents also experience more fear when the child experiences a severe hypo event
  • The emotional well-being of parents is worse when the child has more frequent and severe hypos.

There are few interventions that aim to reduce parents’ fear of hypos. The researchers suggest that this is an important area for future research.

The researchers also suggest that studies that look at the impact of children’s hypos on parents’ well-being over a longer period of time are needed. This will help us to understand how to support parents and caregivers.

If you enjoyed this blog, check out our previous blogs about hypoglycaemia, or about children and adolescents.

Valdersdorf Jensen M, Broadley M, Speight J, Chatwin H, Scope A, Cantrell A, Heller S, de Galan BE, Hendrieckx C, Pouwer F, on behalf of the Hypo-RESOLVE consortium. The impact of hypoglycaemia in children and adolescents with type 1 diabetes on parental quality of life and related outcomes: A systematic review. Pediatric Diabetes, 2022; 1.

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