Published on 19 April 2024

A recently published article highlights role of education and key challenges experiences by people living with diabetes.

It is estimated that 80% of people living with diabetes have experienced some form of negative attitudes towards their condition.

This can have an impact on mental wellbeing, in addition to other complications related to the condition.

In recent years people with diabetes were also impacted in their routine healthcare, in particular, following the Covid-19 pandemic and higher risk of people with diabetes developing severe illness if they contracted the virus.

In a recently published interview feature for Open Access Government, Dr Mayank Patel, Consultant in Diabetes at University Hospital Southampton and member of the DRWF Editorial Advisory Board, discussed key challenges that people living with diabetes may face and emerging topics of interest in diabetes-related research.

Dr Patel said: “As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, there were limitations on face-to-face consultations between GPs and patients with diabetes. The lack of capacity and infrastructure for telephone or digital consultations also caused delays in patients accessing specialist or routine diabetes care. Research now shows that some diabetes patients experienced adverse outcomes over time due to the inability to get timely support. This ultimately led to further deterioration of patients’ health and resulted in more negative outcomes.

“DRWF continues to campaign and work to raise awareness to help reduce diabetes stigma, among both the general public and healthcare professionals. People with diabetes often face misconceptions and myths that they have to debunk, which can be mentally and physically exhausting.

“There is still a lot of diabetes stigma that unfortunately persists today. It may take a while for people to have a better understanding of it. The increased sense of inclusion was one positive outcome of the pandemic. It is important to be kind and respectful to others, to have empathy, and to put ourselves in other people’s shoes before we act or speak. We should always consider how our actions and words could affect someone else’s feelings.

“There is a lot of stigma around obesity and weight when it comes to type 2 diabetes. I am aware of a partner document being produced or drafted that talks about the importance of language and how it impacts individuals who are overweight. It encourages people to be mindful of their words and how they may affect someone. The challenge is to make this mindset shift stick and educate individuals on how to communicate effectively with people. This may be an uncomfortable process, but creating a more supportive and empathetic environment is necessary.”

Read the full interview feature in the April 2024 edition of Open Access Government
Read DRWF diabetes information leaflets here

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