The support of family members could produce better outcomes for people with diabetes, according to new research.
More than 2,000 loved ones of people with the condition from 17 countries took part in the DAWN2 study.
Researchers from the Penn State College of Medicine looked at the experiences and unmet needs of people with diabetes, their family members and healthcare providers.
Two-thirds of those who took part were women and the majority of them were a spouse, partner or parent of an adult with either type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes.
The findings of the survey – which took place online, on the phone or in-person – identified four key areas, with the findings published in the journal Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice.
Some family members admitted worrying about the daily struggles their loved one with diabetes may have, including job safety and low blood sugar concerns.
Those asked said they found diabetes can cause an emotional strain in the relationship they have with the person who has the condition.
Survey participants also said that although they have access to support resources they would like more information about how to deal with the lifestyle changes of diabetes.
Heather Stuckey, assistant professor at Penn State College of Medicine and lead qualitative researcher, said: “This research reveals the nature and extent of what it’s like to live with a person with diabetes.
“The biggest challenge we identified for family members is that there’s a constant worry about the person. It’s in the background like an app that’s always running.
“The most positive thing we found was that the person with diabetes inspired their family members. Family members reported that the resilience of the people with diabetes was amazing. They said ‘I’m so proud of them for dealing with the disease’.”
DAWN2 is a global study, which is conducted in collaboration with the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), the International Alliance of Patient Organizations (IAPO), the Steno Diabetes Centre and a range of other national, regional and global partners.
It is a long-term commitment and an ongoing initiative with the aim of “inspiring new, sustainable ways to help people around the world live full and healthy lives with diabetes”.

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