People’s perception of living with diabetes may affect the impact the condition has on them, a study has found.
A survey has discovered people’s “meaning” of their diabetes directly affects their risk of getting poor cardiovascular disease (CVD) outcomes, including HbA1c and blood pressure.
A total of 302 adults with type 2 diabetes participated in a questionnaire evaluating their appraisal of illness, as well as their ability to cope with the condition.
They were recruited from primary care clinics at a Veterans Affairs Medical Centre in the US in 2004. The questionnaire items were rated on a seven-point scale, ranging from “not at all” to “definitely yes”.
The primary outcomes of the study were CVD risk factors which were evaluated by HbA1c, systolic and diastolic blood pressure and low-density lipoprotein (LDL).
The research was led by Professor Leonard E. Egede, Professor of Medicine in the division of general internal medicine and geriatrics at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston.
Non-anticipated vulnerability was consistently associated with systolic blood pressure, researchers found. A degree of stress and change in commitments was also consistently correlated with LDL.
The findings also discovered that positive feeling among the participants of being challenged and motivated were associated consistently with diastolic blood pressure.
Researchers concluded: “These data confirm the importance of understanding the emotional state of those with diagnosed diabetes as a probable mediator of long-term health outcomes.
“Future work should consider the influence of additional social determinants of health found to influence diabetes outcomes.”
The findings appear online in The Diabetes Educator.

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