In his book “Diabetes Burnout” William Polonsky states some self-care statistics from recent surveys:
In a nationwide survey, 21% of patients with Type-1 reported that they never checked their blood glucose levels. Of patients with Type-2 using insulin 41% never monitored. Of those with Type-2 not using insulin 76% never monitored.
Recent surveys also found that 21-25% of patients rarely or never followed their doctor’s recommendations on monitoring, and in a nationwide survey 21% reported never checking their levels.
In recent surveys 10-24% of patients reported rarely or never following dietary recommendations.
In a recent Joslin survey 22% of patient reported knowing that they were supposed to follow a certain meal plan, but they felt that it was usually or always impossible to do so.
A study of a well-known diabetes education program showed that the program greatly helped patients to be eating better and exercising more. However, when contacted 1 year later most patients had returned to heir old, less healthy habits.
In a recent national surveys 31-38% of patients reported rarely or never following regular exercise recommendations.
In a recent Joslin survey 37-43% of patients never exercise. Only 38% managed to exercise 3 times a week or more.
A series of surveys have also found that many women with Type-1(somewhere between 10-40% depending on the study)regularly take less than the prescribed amount of insulin. One new study also suggest that some patients take less than the prescribed amount of oral medications prescribed.
Many of these people are worried about diabetes and become preoccupied with worry while at the same time doing as little as possible about the problem.
Everyone has a usual way of responding to difficult situations. These responses usually take the form of:
Thinking actions: Seeking to understand the problem, devising solutions, plans for taking action.
Feeling actions: These start with emotional responses, and ways are devised to overcome the feelings involved.
Some of these include:
Poor coping styles
Lack of knowledge about diabetes
Inaccurate health beliefs
Negative feeling about diabetes
Fear of hypoglycemia
Fear and frustration about weight gain
Unrealistic or unclear expectation about self-care
We talk a lot here about people who act as though they don’t seem to care about taking care of themselves, but I’m of the opinion that only the most profoundly depressed person would just not care.
Instead I think that uncovering the underlying reasons that may be responsible for their seemingly uncaring attitude will help us understand better, and perhaps be better at providing solutions for those people. People almost always have reasons, even if we don’t understand what the reasons are.
© EMO 6/12
Knowledge is Power