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Accepting Help Improves Survival Among Diabetics
Date:3/25/2010

Go-it-alone types have 33 percent higher risk of death, study finds,,,,

THURSDAY, March 25 (HealthDay News) -- People with diabetes do much better, in terms of survival, if they can turn to others for support in times of need, new research suggests.

The study found that those who are more independent and feel they don't need help from others have a 33 percent increased risk of dying over a five-year period.

"These are self-reliant, pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps, self-starters and go-getters. But, in the health-care setting with a chronic illness, what is normally an advantage can become a liability over time," said Dr. Paul Ciechanowski, an associate professor in the department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the University of Washington School of Medicine.

"Day-in, day-out, when you have the mortgage to pay, the kids to get to soccer, work deadlines, medications to take and refill, exercise that needs to be done, healthy food that needs to be cooked, and doctors' appointments, it all starts to break down if you're trying to do it all on your own," he said.

"And, the health-care system is one size fits all, so people like this fall through the cracks. They may get labeled as difficult patients, when the truth may be that they're overwhelmed but have a hard time reaching out and trusting. People who are comfortable collaborating well are the ones who do best in our health-care system," noted Ciechanowski.

Previous research has found that people who have chronic illnesses, including diabetes, who lack a good support system are more likely to die, according to background information in the study.

Ciechanowski and his colleagues wanted to expand on past research and see what effect personality type had on the risk of mortality in the presence of chronic illness.

To do this, they recruited 3,535 non-depressed adults with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes. All of th
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