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May 2024

Mental health problems common in diabetes

Original research conducted by a manufacturer of continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) devices has found that more than half of patients with type 2 diabetes are experiencing mental health conditions.

A report based on the research, State of Type 2 [diabetes], by Dexcom, says mental health effects of diabetes were common: 61% people with diabetes suffer from anxiety, 52% experience depression, and 23% experience disordered eating. Patients also reported feelings of withdrawal, embarrassment, shame, and stigmatisation.

The report found that almost two-thirds (63%) of people with diabetes find daily diabetes management difficult.

Almost 6 out 10 people (59%) with diabetes have developed one or more physical health conditions due to poor glucose control, with foot problems (31%), retinopathy (28%), and neuropathy (18%), among the most commonly reported.

The research also included the views of healthcare professionals (HCPs), who said they saw people with type 2 diabetes an average of 71 times per year. General practice nurses see them 150 times per year.

In their experience, HCPs report that at the time of their diagnosis, people with type 2 were concerned about the long-term complications (29%), feared diabetes-related health issues (28%) and worried about how much it would impact their day-to-day life (27%).

The majority of respondents to the survey (76%) agreed that they wanted to manage their diabetes better, without taking more medication. Most (83%) said they would try a continuous glucose monitor if their healthcare team offered it to them.

The research found that a common misconception was that CGM was only helpful for people living with type 1 diabetes, but the recently-launched Dexcom ONE+ device is available for eligible patients with type 2 diabetes on prescription, and will be available to buy online from 3 June 2024.

Practice Nurse 2024;54(3):7