Self-care empowerment may improve quality of life in people with type 2 diabetes

Camille Bienvenu
Mon, 28 Nov 2016
Self-care empowerment may improve quality of life in people with type 2 diabetes
A new study has found that people with type 2 diabetes who are more empowered in their own care, both physically and mentally, were more satisfied with life overall - in addition to benefiting from improved health outcomes.

The study measured the effect of compounded behavioural changes, like mindful eating habits, better sleep hygiene and daily physical activity, on quality of life indicators, such as self-acceptance and drive to realise one's goals.

Polish researchers, from Nicolaus Copernicus University, assessed over 8 months the quality of life of 50 patients who had been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in the last five years and who engaged in one or several of the behaviour changes previously described.

The participants were asked to complete two questionnaires: one assessed how committed a person was to implement a behaviour change, and the other dealt with satisfaction with one's life, looking at well-being, emotions, and social life.

Correlation scores were calculated for each health behaviour change and its impact on quality of life of participants. Based on the scores, there seems to be a relationship between health practices and satisfaction with life in people with type 2 diabetes.

Gender tends to affect the level of dedication to a lifestyle change. Men with type 2 diabetes are more proactive with their health and are also more likely than women to be content or satisfied with life.

Women attach more importance to change of eating habits than men, which is often linked to a less positive mental attitude and lower life satisfaction. The same can be said of the need to rigorously increase physical activity.

Fear over a loss of control of blood sugar levels and/or possible complications are associated with symptoms of depression, which occurred in 30 per cent of patients, both women and men.

Surprisingly, higher intensity of health behaviours sometimes translated in lower global life satisfaction. It is thought that those people focused on the disease and its consequences to such a degree that they have lost satisfaction with their everyday lives.

In light of these findings, researchers argue that learning about structured self-management through health education should be a more pivotal part of people's care, especially for women.

Previous research has shown that improving people's knowledge about how they can actively take part in the treatment leads to a decrease in reported feelings of fear and powerlessness. It also gives patients a sense of independence and self-reliance.

This study was published in the journal Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management.
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