Diabetes-related stress more harmful for young adults
Patients who self-reported greater stress also reported greater depressed mood, less adherence to medication and higher anxiety
Young people diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes experience high psychological distress, resulting in worse health outcomes and poor blood sugar control, find researchers from Carnegie Mellon University. Age plays a critical role in the well-being of people newly diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.
"We found we can evaluate a patient's initial stress and predict how they will be doing six months later," said Vicki Helgeson, professor of psychology at the university. "If you can identify people who are facing diabetes distress earlier, you can intervene and prevent their health from declining," said the findings published in the Journal of Behavioral Medicine.
In the study, the team evaluated 207 patients who were diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes within the past two years. They found younger patients (42 years and younger) experienced higher diabetes-related and psychological distress. In addition, patients with higher education and income expressed more stress.
Conversely, older patients (older than 64 years) had less psychological stress and greater consistency in self-care, blood sugar control and medication adherence. Patients in long-term relationships also reported less diabetes stress. Patients identified diet as the greatest stressor (38 percent).
Other significant stressors include checking blood sugar (8 percent) and experiencing high or low blood sugar events (7 percent). Patients who self-reported greater stress also reported greater depressed mood, less adherence to medication and higher anxiety.
"Diabetes care is difficult because it requires a lifestyle change that you have to do forever," Helgeson said. "Life gets in the way of sticking to a diabetes regimen."
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