Diabetes and the family connection

A study surveying 4,300 family members of people living with diabetes, published in Diabetes Therapy, shows that hypoglycaemia, also known as ‘hypos’ or low blood sugar, can be perceived as a substantial burden by family members of people with diabetes.

Almost two-thirds (64%) of family members of people with diabetes report being worried or anxious about the risk of hypoglycaemia. Added to this, 74% of the study participants that were helping their relative with diabetes to manage their hypos, state that they spend less time on, or forego entirely, other activities such as hobbies, holidays or being with other friends or family as a result.

Adam Burt, Corporate Affairs Director at Novo Nordisk UK, which ran the Talk-Hypo study, said: “This study shows that there is a communications barrier between those living with diabetes and their families who are worried and anxious about the health impact of hypos on their loved ones.

“The challenge of managing hypoglycaemia can take a toll on family relationships, impacting on day-to-day life. We hope these insights will encourage more conversations around hypos within families as well as with their doctors, to help build a better understanding of diabetes and strengthen family relationships in the process.”

Key stats from the study show:

  • 64% of family members of people with diabetes are worried or anxious about the risk of hypoglycaemia
  • 76% of the respondents believe that having more conversations on this topic can lead to a positive impact on the life of their relative living with diabetes
  • Over 80% of the respondents feel that talking about hypos with their relatives who live with diabetes brings them closer together
  • 66% state that they think about their family members’ risk of hypos at least once a month
  • 74% of the study participants that were helping their relative with diabetes to manage their hypos, state that they spend less time on, or forgo entirely, other activities such as hobbies, holidays or being with other friends or family as a result
  • When conversations about hypos do happen, study participants report that they initiate nearly half (45%) of these, with 43% reporting that the primary barrier to these conversations is their relative with diabetes not wanting to talk about hypos.

To further understand how low blood sugar affects families living with diabetes, Novo Nordisk filmed people with diabetes talking about their experiences, while their family members were in a separate room answering similar questions about their experiences with, and feelings about, low blood sugar. After the interviews, they were shown each other’s answers. These videos are availablehere.

Read more Insights here...