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Lifestyle & Leisure

Diabetes - you just can't sugarcoat it

Wednesday, 20th November, 2019 4:27pm

Living with diabetes can be a challenging thing especially on a day to day basis and people living with diabetes are not the only ones impacted by the condition. A new study of 4,300 family members of people with diabetes found that worrying about low blood sugar, also known as hypoglycaemia, can greatly impact them too.

Until now, there has been very little research into the impact of low blood sugar on the family members of people with diabetes. The results from this new international TALK-HYPO study, shows that up to 64 per cent of family members of people with diabetes are concerned about the risk of low blood sugar, highlighting the significance of this for the whole family

Low blood sugars are a well-known side-effect of some diabetes treatments, especially when using insulin and they can be very unpleasant and dangerous if not managed properly. The study also shows the importance of having more conversations about low blood sugar at home with the family, as well as with doctors, as 76 per cent believe that these conversations could lead to improvements in the life of their family member with diabetes.

The respondents also feel that conversations can help bring them closer together, and increase their understanding of how they can better help to manage the low blood sugar that their family member experiences.

Another interesting finding is that worrying about the risk of low blood sugar can also have a negative impact on the social life of the family members. 74 per cent of the respondents that were helping their relative with diabetes to manage low blood sugar, said that they spend less time on other activities such as hobbies, holidays or being with other friends or family as a result.

With more than 50 per cent of the 225,000 Irish people with diabetes at risk of low blood sugar, these findings are very important.

“We all know that low blood sugar is difficult to live with for people with diabetes, but this study shows that family members also perceive low blood sugar to significantly impact their lives and the choices they make. The study results show that families sacrifice their own needs to help their relative living with diabetes,” said Owen Treacy, General Manager and VP Ireland, Novo Nordisk Limited.

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