It is estimated that around 35% of patients with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes have elevated distress levels, but a digital health application (DiGA) has been shown to relieve the distress that patients can experience when managing diabetes, and which can compromise their care.
Diabetes distress is an emotional reaction specific to the demands of diabetes and diabetes therapy – leading to feelings of hopelessness, discouragement and exhaustion. It has been linked to a risk of depression, poorer quality-of-life, and suboptimal management of diabetes that can worsen blood glucose control. It is not necessarily pathological, but can become so if present at an elevated level, according to study investigator Dominic Ehrmann of the FIDAM diabetes research institute in Germany.
The use of DiGAs can relieve distress in several ways: by providing a simple overview of glucose control, making data easier to interpret, and providing motivational feedback and positive reinforcement when goals are achieved.
The new trial investigated the role of the Pro version of the mySugr app, a digital diabetes logbook which Roche acquired along with its developer in 2017. The study tested the effects of the app on diabetes distress and included nearly 400 patients with Type 1 and 2 diabetes, as well as gestational diabetes, who were asked to carry out daily blood glucose measurements and input the results into the app.
The study found an improvement in diabetes distress with mySugr Pro – a reduction of around 3.6 on the PAID scale versus a slight increase in the control group. Amongst Type 1 and 2 patients, there was a 2.2 higher chance of achieving a target HbA1c level of 6.5% or lower, along with evidence for lower rates of very high or very low blood sugar, which provided some evidence of improved glycaemic control.
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