Posted by: kellydh | September 29, 2007

From WebMD: Diabetes treatment a burden to many

Along the same vein as the previous post, on the popular WebMD there is an article discussing the amazing amount of work, energy, and cost that is devoted to diabetes care.

“[M]any patients find the day-to-day burden of managing their disease to be too much, says Elbert Huang, MD, of the University of Chicago. “The idea that treatments are a burden to patients has largely been dismissed, yet we know that a large number of patients are not managing their disease as well as they could,” Huang tells WebMD. “In this study, we showed that for a minority of diabetes patients, comprehensive treatments negatively impact their quality of life in a significant way.

Between 10% and 18% of patients reported that they would be willing to give up eight to 10 years of life in good health to avoid life with treatments.”

I know the previous post may have sounded a tad whiny tired in terms of diabetes management, but I really don’t think the above quote applies.

Later in the article, I finally saw who was interviewed for the study: 701 adults with type 2 diabetes.

Seriously?  If these patients couldn’t deal with the treatment for type 2/adult onset diabetes, how would they deal with the intense daily therapy absolutely required of type 1 diabetes.  Not to sound elitist or bitter, but type 1 diabetes care can be way more intense…and often starts even earlier in life.   Oye.

I do agree, though, that dealing with diabetes can burden.  I think a better place to look for information on the psychological issues of dealing with diabetes care is DAWN: Diabetes Attitudes Wishes and Needs.  Check it out, it’s an interesting organization.

Back to the topic.  The article does make some important points:

“Real innovations in the delivery of treatments are needed to improve the day-to-day experiences of patients with diabetes,” he says.

“Ann Albright, PhD, RN, who has been managing her own type 1 diabetes for four decades, says patients often feel overwhelmed by the challenges of managing their disease.

She says patients fare better when they play an active role in their own treatment and have a clear understanding of what they are doing and why.

“Patients need to embrace the concept that this is a self-managed disease,” she tells WebMD. “That doesn’t mean management in isolation, but it does mean taking an active role because patients are the ones who have to live with the treatment.”

“As a practitioner and as someone who has lived with diabetes for 40 years, I can tell you it takes a lot of effort to manage this disease,” she says. “But the effort is worth it because the alternative is so much worse.”

Amen, sister.



  1. […] an interesting post today on From WebMD: Diabetes treatment a burden to manyHere’s a quick […]

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