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New survey explores the impact of insulin injections on people with diabetes

CHICAGO, August 7, 2008The American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE) today announced results from a survey conducted by Harris Interactive highlighting communication between people with diabetes that require insulin injections and their healthcare providers. According to the survey results, 33 percent of respondents have experienced some level of dread relating to insulin injections (eight percent strongly agreed/25 percent somewhat agreed), 14 percent of individuals surveyed felt that the insulin injections had a negative impact on their life (three percent experience a major negative impact/11 percent experience a moderate negative impact) and more than 29 percent of individuals surveyed felt that injecting insulin was the hardest aspect of their diabetes care (eight percent strongly agree/21 percent somewhat agree). However, even though insulin injections had such an impact on these individuals, 52 percent do not proactively discuss their concerns regarding the physical and emotional aspects of injecting with their healthcare provider.

For a proportion of the individuals surveyed, 37 percent, this was due in part to a misconception that discussing these issues would be a bother to their healthcare provider. Yet, a corresponding survey of healthcare professionals (PCPs, endocrinologists and diabetes educators) paints a different story. Seventy-one percent of healthcare professionals are aware of the impact that insulin injections have on their patients' quality of life and 40 percent have initiated a dialogue in the past with their patients about these issues. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are 24 million people in the U.S. with diabetes, and more than six million of them take injections of some kind as part or all of their treatment. (1)

"There are millions of individuals living in the U.S. with diabetes that take injections." said Amparo Gonzalez, RN, BSN, CDE, president of the AADE. "When developing the survey we had two goals in mind, the first was to encourage patients to take a more proactive role in communicating with their healthcare team about their concerns regarding insulin injections. The second was to dispel the myth that healthcare providers were unaware of or were unwilling to address the quality of life issues surrounding insulin injections. It is our hope that the results from this survey accomplish both these goals and that patients and providers will begin talking regularly about these important issues. If we can improve the quality of life for 33 percent of people with diabetes who are insulin dependent, then we can be one step closer to lessening the impact of the disease on our patients' lives."

To reinforce the goals of the Injection Impact Report, and to continue to address the issues surrounding communication and barriers to patient adherence, the AADE created the Injection Impact Report Discussion Group comprised of a team of physicians, diabetes educators, patients and other healthcare providers whose mission is to heighten awareness of injection issues. In response to the results from the Injection Impact Report, the Discussion Group is developing tools for patients and healthcare providers to help foster increased communication around these issues.

"Diabetes is unique in that it requires significant commitment and adherence by the patient to keep it in control. If patients are not comfortable communicating issues related to their quality of life, over time they may adhere less and less to their regimen, putting them increasingly at risk for complications," said Davida Kruger, MSN, APN-BC,BC-ADM, diabetes nurse practitioner and member of the Injection Impact Report Discussion Group. "As this survey shows, a percentage of individuals living with diabetes and taking insulin are altering what they eat during the day to avoid injections or even skipping the injection entirely. Even if that only happens rarely, omission of insulin depending on the circumstance may have an impact on a patient's overall health and potentially leave them at risk for serious diabetes-related complications."

Diabetes educators are an excellent resource for answers concerning quality of life and day-to-day concerns with diabetes management. The Injection Impact Report Discussion Group wants patients to utilize their diabetes educator in dealing with any issues around injections, and also encourages physicians to work with diabetes educators in their practices to develop programs to aid patients in their diabetes management. By working together, patients, diabetes educators and physicians can improve these statistics and improve diabetes management and lives of people with diabetes.

"I am not surprised that many people with diabetes are not talking with the doctors or diabetes educators about their injections," said Debra Lofton, a member of the Injection Impact Report Discussion Group who takes insulin injections for her diabetes. "For years I skipped meals or injections to avoid the hassle and discomfort of taking them, but when it came to talking with my doctor about it, I did not speak up as much as I could have. When I did finally talk to my diabetes educator about my injections I learned there were other, less painful ways to manage my diabetes effectively. I am so happy I finally said something."

About the Injection Impact Report

The surveys were conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of the American Association of Diabetes Educators and Patton Medical Devices between June 12th and July 7th, 2008. The survey of people with diabetes included 502 people who inject insulin using a syringe or insulin pen to manage their diabetes. The survey of healthcare professionals included 301 healthcare professionals that treat people with diabetes that inject insulin, including 101 primary care physicians, 100 endocrinologists, and 100 diabetes educators. Physicians were recruited from the American Medical Association (AMA) physician list. Data from the patient and physician surveys were weighted as necessary to be representative of the respective populations. No estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated; a full methodology is available.


Contact: Andrea Dagger
Cohn & Wolfe

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