Managing diabetes is demanding work and can seem unrelenting. It is especially important because those with distress may have associated problems with diet, exercise, adherence to medications and quality of life, none of which make living with diabetes any easier.
"Learning you have diabetes can feel less like a diagnosis and more like a threat to your way of life," Guzman said. “This discovery involves fundamental personal changes that can seem draining. Taking care of your mind can be just as important as taking care of your body in leading a healthy life. People can experience feelings of hopelessness and burnout."
Some More Numbers to Consider
Let's introduce some more very important numbers before we move on from them:
- About 40% of adults with either Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes report significant distress at any point in time.2
- They are 2 times more likely to experience depression across their lifespan than the general population.3
- They are 20% more likely to experience anxiety. Stress hormones make blood sugar rise or fall unpredictably, adding to the complexity of the condition.2
These figures help explain why a healthy diabetes lifestyle requires a more holistic approach.
As a health psychologist specializing in treating people with diabetes, Guzman understands that much of diabetes care is behavioral and much behavior is mental health-related. BDI develops and provides tools for both patients and healthcare professionals "to face the psychological demands of diabetes" and achieve better outcomes and live long, healthy and happy lives.
Connecting the Dots
As a leader in developing CGM devices, we similarly focus on improving diabetes management. "We want to tune in the approach of our CGM devices with the behavioral/psychological issues of diabetes care," said Megan O’Neill, Regional Medical Science Liaison Manager, Abbott Diabetes Care. "We must understand how technology and psychology interface to spark behavior change, leading to better mental health and improved outcomes.
"We’re always looking for the best ways to connect those dots."
One way to do that is by giving life-changing technology the best chance to change lives.
"As impressive as CGM technology has become in diabetes management, we have a responsibility to unlock full impact of these devices," O’Neill said. "The device provides the data but the magic happens when people engage with it."
How this happens is unique to each person. "It's not one size fits all," O'Neill said. "It's meeting that person where they are today. Some are afraid of lows and CGM can relieve that anxiety through providing information that can help manage hypoglycemia.
"Another person may have been told they 'should or shouldn't do/eat this or that' and it can seem like just words or rules. But when they get the information that shows the impact of that action or food on their glucose levels in real time, the information has new relevance and credibility."