Most people who are diagnosed with type 1 diabetes go through some sort of training program or educational meetings with their doctor to learn how to inject themselves with insulin, how to know what doses to give themselves and when, and other important information that could potentially save their lives. But a new survey suggests that the brief education and follow-ups these patients receive is often not enough to make them feel comfortable treating themselves.
The survey, conducted by female-founded digital health startup Quin, found that 46 percent of people with type 1 diabetes felt that they needed to correct their insulin doses under their existing medical guidance. Another 17 percent said that they were not confident in the insulin doses they injected.
Two-thirds of those who responded to the survey said that they see their doctors three times a year or fewer. This means that when a medication needs to be changed or a dose needs to be increased or decreased, patients often go months without access to the correct recommendations and prescriptions from their doctors.
People with type 1 diabetes make an average of about 180 decisions per day that will affect their condition. Making that many decisions without the proper support and advice can be at best stressful and at worst catastrophic.
Quin’s survey found that 55 percent of respondents were dealing with anxiety and stress. 47 percent experienced depression, and 50 percent suffered from fatigue.
A 2018 report conducted by the All Party Parliamentary Group for Diabetes corroborates these results, finding that 42 percent of people with diabetes suffer from elevated stress levels on a regular basis, which can lead to other health problems. And other health problems, of course, mean more treatment plans, more symptoms, less energy, and more stress. It’s a vicious cycle, and one most of us would like to stop in its tracks before it gets too far.
The bottom line is that the healthcare system is not equipped to give every person with diabetes the one-on-one care they need to feel confident and safe with their home care. The survey highlights the need for more assistive technologies, such as high-quality diabetes management apps, to provide regular recommendations on how much insulin patients should take and when.
Diabetes is a complicated condition, and the way each person’s body responds to different activities and treatments varies. People who suffer from this condition need to know they have somebody (or something) to help them make the tough decisions that will help keep them healthy. But diabetes apps and technologies continue to improve and fill that gap better every day.
Quin is now available in the app store for those who’d like to try it. There are several other diabetes apps out there that might also help you keep your diabetes under control. Have you tried any of them? Which is your favorite?
Elizabeth Nelson is a wordsmith, an alumna of Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, a four-leaf-clover finder, and a grammar connoisseur. She has lived in west Michigan since age four but loves to travel to new (and old) places. In her free time, she. . . wait, what’s free time?