People with Type 2 diabetes advised not to be lulled into false sense of security.
19th January 2015: New research into type 2 diabetes indicates people may not be managing their condition effectively, even though they think they are. The research, by Diabetes Ireland and Janssen, revealed that 70% feel they are in control of their diabetes. However only half significantly changed their diet, just 35% significantly improved their exercise habits and almost a quarter (23%) forgot to take their diabetes medication at some stage in the previous month1 and 1 in 20 do this at least once a week.
Healthy diet, regular physical activity and taking medications as prescribed are the primary methods used to manage type 2 diabetes. Taking medication as prescribed is essential for good diabetes control and considered to be easier than making significant lifestyle changes.
Dr Anna Clarke, Health Promotion Manager, Diabetes Ireland said “Failure of people to take their medications really questions their ability to follow the other essential behaviours of healthy eating and taking regular activity which are more difficult. This suggests that although people think they are looking after themselves many may not be taking the proper precautions to control their diabetes”.
Type 2 diabetes, the most common form of diabetes, is a chronic condition that causes the body’s blood glucose (sugar) levels to rise higher than normal causing blood vessel damage over time, if the condition is not well controlled. It is estimated that there are over 225,000 people in Ireland with diabetes and 90% of those, or 205,000, live with type 2. The growing levels of obesity, one of the contributing factors in developing type 2 diabetes, will see this number rise to over 250,000 by 2032.
The research was a comprehensive attitudinal survey of 300 Diabetes Ireland members who have type 2 diabetes. It marks the launch of a new treatment for Irish patients to help manage and control the condition. The treatment belongs to a new class of medications called inhibitors of sodium glucose co-transporter 2 (SGLT2) which reduces blood sugar levels.
Professor Seamus Sreenan, Consultant Diabetologist at Connolly Hospital commented on the findings. “While it is encouraging that people with type 2 diabetes feel positive about the status of their condition, I would be concerned that some have a false sense of security. Effective treatment of type 2 diabetes for most people requires a significant change in diet and exercise as well as constant monitoring. We as health care professionals caring for people with diabetes appreciate the difficulties involved in making significant lifestyle changes and are concerned that our advice is not always followed through. Since diabetes may not cause symptoms even though it is not well controlled, it is important that people with diabetes are very aware of their level of control and the measures to maintain control. Some patients who think they are managing their type 2 diabetes well find that when they are assessed in our clinics their condition is not as stable as they think it is. I would encourage all people living with type 2 diabetes to agree specific targets for sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol levels with their healthcare professional so that they engage fully to best control their condition.”
Other findings from the research revealed that when first diagnosed with type 2 diabetes over a quarter (27%) of people felt confused by the news and did not comprehend what living with the condition meant. Other feelings included being scared (23%) and regret (22%). Almost half (42%) cited worrying about complications associated with type 2 diabetes as being the most difficult part of living with it1. These complications can include heart disease, nerve damage, kidney damage, vision loss and foot ulcers3.
Kieran O’Leary, CEO of Diabetes Ireland welcomed the research. “A diagnosis of type 2 diabetes is a huge adjustment for people. Some adapt to the new lifestyle and medication while others find it very difficult. It is worth noting that our members would be more motivated than other people with diabetes. Getting the proper support is key. Diabetes Ireland provides education, support and motivation to people living with diabetes so we would urge those living with the condition to avail of our services. It doesn’t matter if you’re newly diagnosed or have lived with diabetes for many years we are here to help.”
Janssen and Diabetes Ireland have created a “TAKE CONTROL” checklist that will guide people through simple steps that will help them take control of their condition. The “TAKE CONTROL” checklist is available on www.diabetes.ie and www.janssen.ie. The sheet is also available for download here – Take control checklist
Dr Leisha Daly, Country Director, Janssen Ireland, said: “We are delighted to provide a new treatment option to Irish adults with type 2 diabetes. Living with this condition can be difficult but with the right motivation and education people can take a positive step in taking control. Janssen is committed to partnering with Diabetes Ireland in supporting people in this journey.”
Please contact Andrew Shaw or Orla Dormer of First Medical Communications on 01 665 0300 or 087 7525445 (AS) / 085 7086877 (OD) if you would like further information.
1. Empathy Research – postal survey of 300 Diabetes Ireland members
2. Diabetes Ireland: Diabetes Prevalence in Ireland http://www.diabetes.ie/aboutus/diabetes-in-ireland/ Accessed December 2014
3. World Health Organization, Media Centre, Diabetes, Fact sheet Number 312. Available at: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs312/en/. Accessed December 2014
About the research
Empathy Research conducted a postal survey with 300 respondents from the Diabetes Ireland database. The fieldwork was conducted between 22nd September and 17th October 2014.
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