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Study explores fears of young adults with type 1 diabetes

Young adults who worry less about type 1 diabetes could experience improved management and better quality of life, research suggests.
A study by the University of Illinois at Chicago has found that heightened quality of life among young adults with the condition was associated with being frustrated about the time spent managing type 1 diabetes and being afraid of complications, such as hypoglycemia.
The study of 180 adults aged between 18-35, who have type 1 diabetes, found that 60% were afraid of long-term complications, 70% were scared diabetes would affect their feet, and 42% worried about hypos during sleep.
“These observations suggest that, as fear of hypoglycemia and fear of complications increase, quality of life decreases, and as self-efficacy increases, so does quality of life,” said the researchers. Self-efficacy is the person’s belief in themselves to achieve goals and positive outcomes.
“Thus, fear of hypoglycemia, fear of complications, and self-efficacy may be appropriate primary outcomes to use in interventions designed to improve quality of life in young adults with T1DM. Findings from this study extend our understanding of being a young adult with T1DM.”
The participants completed an online survey, which measured quality of life against a number of fear-inducing factors and also included a knowledge test.
Other fears reported included being worried about being denied insurance, extra pressure on family members, fears about having children and employment.
Better quality of life was linked was linked to stronger self-management behaviours, the results revealed.
The findings also revealed positive implications for young adults with type 1 diabetes. Dr Laurie Quin, one of the researchers who led the study, said: “Young adults are engaging in developmental tasks and new relationships. Minimising their worries about diabetes will help them focus on the important new roles they are taking on personally and societally. It may also help people with diabetes have and maintain better quality of life in later stages of life.”
There is no reason why somebody diagnosed with type 1 diabetes cannot go on to have a full and active life. If managed correctly, the condition should not represent a barrier to people going on to fulfil their ambitions.
The study was published by The Diabetes Educator journal.

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