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Approach to diabetes self-management too narrow, study suggests
Date:4/10/2012

has been very little research on what people with diabetes do and how they cope when health professionals aren't around. We have shown that self-management of diabetes is hard work both practically and emotionally, and that many but not all people with diabetes are skilful at undertaking and co-ordinating all the different tasks involved."

The research showed that people with diabetes and their families devoted a lot of time and hard work to managing their disease. For those who were not managing well, the reasons tended to be that they were overstretched by family responsibilities, had other illnesses, were struggling financially or a combination of these. Many had other medical conditions, some very serious for example paralysis following a stroke, visual impairment or heart failure. These factors severely limited people's opportunities to manage their condition, meaning that those who would benefit most from self-management were also those least able to achieve it.

Lack of food labelling in cafes and restaurants also proved challenging because it made calculating the correct dose of insulin difficult.

Some but not all health professionals were enthusiastic about people acquiring advanced knowledge about their diabetes and learning how to self-manage.

Professor Greenhalgh added: "There is a trend towards encouraging individuals to look after their own health. This study highlights that whilst many people with diabetes are ready and able to do this, health professionals and wider society could be doing more to support them. Sadly there is still a great deal of ignorance, stigma and stereotyping.

"We need to know a lot more about how patients manage their disease outside of the clinic. In the meantime, doctors should be aware of the work their patients put in to self-management and understand that many factors will influence how successful they are at controlling their diabetes."

The research is published in <
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Contact: Kerry Noble
k.noble@qmul.ac.uk
44-207-882-7943
Queen Mary, University of London
Source:Eurekalert

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