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Providing Emotional Support for Patients With Type 2 Diabetes

Abbott and Diabetes Singapore partner to support Singaporeans with diabetes and their caregivers by providing essential information and skills to better understand and tackle Diabetes Burnout.

Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (T2DM) is a chronic disease that requires long term management by the patient. Besides having to do regular check-ups with doctors, T2DM patients need to spend a portion of their time at home managing their disease either by themselves or by a caregiver. It was estimated through a survey with the American Association of Diabetes Educators that adults with T2DM is 234 minutes daily. Having to manage the chronic disease every day can result in a significant amount of emotional stress.

In order to grasp the emotional and psychological impact of T2DM self-care, Abbott and Diabetes Singapore, conducted a survey using the Diabetes Distress Scale (DDS-17) consisting of 17 items with four subscales. Based on a survey they discovered that 39 percent of the respondents have Diabetes Burnout. The survey included responses form 167 Singaporean respondents with T2DM. Even the 28 percent of respondents who perceive to be “managing diabetes very or quite well” also experience Diabetes Burnout.

“Managing diabetes can feel like a full-time job you didn’t want and can’t quit and involves daily management of diet, exercise and medication, while managing emotions and interpersonal relations. These stresses accumulate and may lead to Diabetes Burnout which in turn may affect control in the long run,” said Ms. Kalpana Bhaskaran, Vice President of Diabetes Singapore.

The survey identified emotional distress and regiment-related distress as the two key domains of Diabetes Burnout, affecting all respondents with Diabetes Burnout. Interestingly, Diabetes Burnout was found to be more prevalent amongst individuals who are below 60 years old as opposed to those who are 60 years old and above.

Managing Diabetes Burnout can help in ensuring good glycaemic control in the patient, the survey result shoed that nearly 29 percent of respondents experiencing Diabetes Burnout had poor control of T2DM.

As such raising awareness and garnering support from the patient’s loved ones and healthcare professionals is an essential component in assisting patients to better identify and manage their condition.

“To be the model patient and to choose the ‘right’ food that is low in carbohydrates, and well balanced in nutrition day-in and day-out is indeed a formidable challenge. As healthcare professionals, family and community, we can do more to support them – and this support can make a world of difference to them,’’ said Dr Matthew Tan Zhen-Wei, medical director and senior consultant endocrinologist.

In support of those managing T2DM, Abbott and Diabetes Singapore put together a series of activities catered for those with T2DM and caregivers. These include a public event held on 17 November at the Ng Teng Fong General Hospital. The event included a variety of diabetes-related screenings, a healthy cooking demonstration, and educational talks from special guest speakers. A workshop series – Living Empowered: Break free from Diabetes Burnout – will be taking place between January and June 2020 for the public, providing real life tips and hands-on experience to managing the four key areas of diabetes distress, including Emotional, Regimental, Physician-Related and Interpersonal.

“Together with Diabetes Singapore, we hope to bring higher awareness of Diabetes Burnout to people with diabetes and more importantly to the people around them including their caregivers, doctors and friends, so that we as a community can support these individuals to better manage their condition and enjoy better quality of life. We want to help patients break free of Diabetes Burnout with relevant information and practical suggestions that include nutritional solutions to meet the need for greater convenience and confidence,” said Ms. Anna Jacob, MS, director of nutrition and medical affairs at Abbott in Singapore. [APBN]