Diabetic students attending universities face a high level of diabetes-related distress mainly arising due to their concerns about living with this medical condition, a new study has suggested.
According to the study published in the ‘Journal of the American Osteopathic Association,’ diabetic students who attended universities had high levels of diabetes distress, a condition of feeling worried and frustrated about living with diabetes. It is associated with fewer self-care behaviours, suboptimal glycemic control and lower quality of life.
The study surveyed 173 people with Type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) and Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), who worked at or attended a university.
High levels of diabetes distress were reported by 27 per cent of those with T1DM and 30 per cent of those with T2DM.
Participants who reported high diabetes distress also indicated a lower diabetes quality of life. Researchers found 19 per cent of those with T1DM and 17 per cent of those with T2DM screened positive for severe depression.
“The findings highlight just how difficult it is to live with diabetes. It requires daily management and despite a person’s best efforts, diabetes remains a chronic, progressive disease that can decline over time,” said Beverly.
New environments can significantly disrupt a person’s self-care plan, especially when it comes to diet and managing blood glucose. For students moving away from home, where routines are set, getting access to the right foods may prove difficult.
Heightened diabetes distress comes from the uncertainty of being able to effectively maintain one’s health in the face of major life changes or disease complications. The consequences of not managing diabetes can be severe, including loss of eyesight and limbs.
The best intervention for combating uncertainty is information, according to Beverly, who recommended referring patients with high distress for diabetes education.
Patients can speak to diabetes educators and dieticians to learn about better eating habits, treatment options, or can consult a medical practitioner trained in diabetes distress.