Diabetes highs and lows, website from Sanofi

Artist Chris Bullzini walks across a high wire at Southbank, London. while holding a balance pole to illustrate the importance for diabetes patients to balance their blood sugar levels. Photo credit: Isabel Infantes/PA Wire

Research published at the end of 2016 by Sanofi showed that negative emotions are jeopardising the ability of people living with Type 2 diabetes (T2D) to effectively manage their condition. A quarter of people with T2D and being treated with insulin feel anxious or fearful about getting ‘hypos’ (low blood glucose levels), with 42% having high blood glucose levels instead of risking another low blood glucose. That’s despite the fact that higher sugars can lead to diabetes complications in their future.

The UK has the worst T2D blood glucose levels in Europe. To help address this, Sanofi, a major supplier of insulin, has an on-going campaign. That includes the patient support website, www.diabeteshighsandlows.co.uk

Sanofi’s research also revealed that negative emotions are stopping people managing their condition. People living with T2D diabetes believe that others think they are to blame (15%), some believing that people think they are just greedy (14%). This is in combination with 25% only telling close friends, family or their healthcare professional about their condition, and 58% feeling self- conscious or avoiding injecting in front of other people.

Type 2 diabetes

Dr Mike Baxter, medical therapy expert at Sanofi UK commented: “Our research shows that there is a need in the UK for better support for people with Type 2 diabetes – not just in terms of the medical management of the disease, but also the emotional and psychological aspects of the condition. Almost a quarter of patients blame themselves (22%), or feel they’ve let themselves down (24%), if they can’t or don’t manage their blood sugars effectively. Instead of this feeling of blame and failure, we want to help them feel motivated to seek the help that they may need to navigate the complex blood sugar ‘balancing act’.

At this time, although the importance of psychological support in helping people to manage their condition is well recognised and the benefits of improved blood glucose control on reducing diabetic complications is well documented, there is a clear lack of adequate psychological support for people with diabetes. Consequently, the level of diabetic control in a large number of people with diabetes in the UK remains unacceptably high, exposing them to high risks of developing preventable diabetic complications”

The campaign website, www.diabeteshighsandlows.co.uk, includes key information on recognising and managing blood glucose highs and lows for both patients and carers.

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