Managing Emotions Crucial for Type 1 Diabetes Distress, Study Suggests

Published On 2024-06-13 03:00 GMT   |   Update On 2024-06-13 09:10 GMT
A new study led by researchers at UC San Francisco, and published in Diabetes Care, has found that the most effective way to reduce the distress that comes with having diabetes – and improve glucose control – is to focus on managing the emotional strain of living with the condition.
Diabetes distress, or DD, refers to the fears, worries and burdens associated with living with and managing diabetes, and it affects up to 75% of adults with Type 1 diabetes. It is linked with poor self-management, such as missing medication doses, elevated glucose levels, more incidents of low blood glucose (hypoglycemia) and lower quality of life. 
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In the study, three virtual group programs were compared. The first program centred on diabetes education and management, the second addressed the emotional aspects of living with diabetes, and the third combined both approaches. Surprisingly, all three programs resulted in notable and clinically significant reductions in diabetes distress (DD) and haemoglobin A1C levels, indicative of improved glucose control. However, the emotion-focused program demonstrated the most consistent benefits and proved to be significantly more effective in reducing DD compared to any other intervention studied previously.
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The findings revealed that diabetes distress can be successfully reduced among individuals with T1D with elevated HbA1c using emotion-focused approaches. Although both approaches are associated with significant and clinically meaningful reductions in diabetes distress and HbA1c, the emotion-focused program, had the most consistent benefits across both diabetes distress and HbA1c.
"Most diabetes patients are unaware of diabetes distress and how it can be alleviated. Helping individuals with Type 1 diabetes recognize and manage their emotional responses can lead to healthier choices and improved well-being. Addressing the emotional aspects of living with diabetes is crucial for effective care, and clinicians should be trained to discuss these issues as part of routine treatment,” said first author Danielle Hessler Jones.
Reference: Danielle M. Hessler, Lawrence Fisher; Susan Guzman; Lisa Strycker; William H. Polonsky; Andrew Ahmann; Grazia Aleppo; Nicholas B. Argento; Joseph Henske; Sarah Kim; Elizabeth Stephens; Katherine Greenberg; Umesh Masharani; A Randomized, Controlled Trial Comparing Three Approaches to Reducing Diabetes Distress and Improving HbA1c in Adults With Type 1 Diabetes; Diabetes Care; https://doi.org/10.2337/dc23-2452
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Article Source : Diabetes Care

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