Older people better handle stress of type 2 diabetes

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In a new study from Carnegie Mellon University, researchers found age plays a critical role in the well-being of people newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

They found younger patients more susceptible to psychological distress, resulting in worse health outcomes.

Currently, about 27 million people in the United States live with type 2 diabetes. Past research shows that stress associated with diabetes management leads to poor blood sugar control.

For the study, researchers evaluated 207 patients (55% male, 53% white, 47% black, 25-82 years of age), who were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes within the past two years.

They used several surveys to evaluate health, psychological distress, and health care, as well as studied the participants’ daily diaries to identify stressors.

The team found younger patients (42 years and younger) experienced higher diabetes-related and psychological distress, as did patients with higher education and income.

Conversely, patients over 64 had less psychological stress and greater consistency in self-care, blood sugar control, and medication adherence. Patients in long-term relationships also reported less diabetes stress.

Patients identified diet as the greatest stressor (38%). Other significant stressors include checking blood sugar (8%) and experiencing high or low blood sugar events (7%).

Patients who self-reported greater stress also reported greater depressed mood, less adherence to medication, and higher anxiety.

While the study was not designed to explore why patients handle stressors differently, the team believes older adults may live in the present compared to younger adults, whose focus on the future may magnify their stressors.

Diabetes is also more common as people age, and older patients may find more support from their peer group.

The team also suggests older adults may leverage past experiences to employ emotion regulation strategies to mitigate the stress associated with managing the disease.

After a diagnosis, many patients experience stress as they modify their lifestyle to accommodate diet, weight control, medication, and exercise routines, which can be time-consuming, complicated and costly.

Complications from diabetes include heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, and lower-limb amputations.

If you care about diabetes, please read studies about this stuff in oranges may reduce obesity and prevent diabetes and findings of this popular drink may help control diabetes, lower blood sugar.

For more information about diabetes and your health, please see recent studies about this diabetes drug may help slow down chronic kidney disease and results showing that this simple foot test can detect heart rhythm disorder in diabetes.

The study is published in the Journal of Behavioral Medicine. One author of the study is Vicki Helgeson.

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