Sue Marshall blogs about diabetes for Desang

Boots research reveals lifestyle choices are of high concern to people with diabetes | October 27, 2009

Research finds diabetes patients hungry for lifestyle information

The biggest single concern for diabetes patients is the lack of information about how to adapt their lifestyle to manage the condition effectively, according to new qualitative research carried out by the Boots Centre for Innovation.

Many attendees said that the focus groups used to carry out the research were the first opportunity they’d had to discuss their condition with other individuals with diabetes and share ideas and practical advice.

The Boots Centre for Innovation initiated the research to try and understand what life is like for people with diabetes and to identify products and services that may be needed to address the growing number with the condition. Some 2.5 million people in the UK have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, and a further 0.5 million are estimated to be undiagnosed, equating to 1:20 of the population. This is expected to increase to 1:15 by 2015.1

Respondents told researchers that, as well as obtaining information from leaflets and meetings with their diabetes team, they wanted more help to address issues such as diet, weight management, foot care and medication options.

They felt strongly that there should be a range of information for people at different stages of the condition, as what is relevant to someone who has had Type 1 diabetes for many years is not appropriate to someone recently diagnosed with Type 2 and vice versa.

Carrying out their own research online often provides terrifying stories about potential complications, respondents said. They would like access to positive information and advice from dieticians, nurses, foot specialists and other professionals such as pharmacists about how to manage the condition, which was described as “a life sentence”.

The research also found that:
“Diabulimia” – where people with Type I diabetes routinely give themselves less insulin than they need in order to lose weight – was a routine practice for younger women
Many people with diabetes – particularly Type 2 – suffer from lack of energy. Experts say this is not a result of diabetes itself but tends to result from dietary factors
While men accept that they may be overweight, women are offended by any mention of a link between diabetes and obesity, and believe that their diabetes is the result of a range of other factors but unassociated with their weight.

As a result of this research, the Boots Centre for Innovation organised a diabetes workshop which brought together specialists Professor Steve Bain of the School of Medicine (Diabetes) at Swansea University, Professor Eric Kilpatrick of Hull York Medical School, charity Diabetes UK and specialists from Alliance Boots. A range of ideas for future products and services was discussed, addressing issues from screening and testing to dietary supplements and advice.

“The NHS aims to manage all Type 2 diabetes through primary care in the future, which requires patients to be educated and empowered to manage their own health,” said Professor Kilpatrick. “This research showed the need for additional diabetes services to supplement those provided by the NHS.”

“Research has found that the people most at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes are those from lower socio-economic groups,” said Helen Taylor, Business Development Manager at the Boots Centre for innovation. ”We have a responsibility to provide services that are accessible to all and our future developments will bear this in mind.

“There is an increasing number of people with diabetes in the UK and pharmacy can provide a convenient and trusted means for patients to receive advice on managing their condition. We are pleased with outcome of the research and will use this as the basis for future product and service development in the UK.”

The research was carried out as a series of focus groups which included men and women with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes across the age range 18 to 75.

Note 1: statistics from Diabetes UK.

http://www.bootsinnovation.com

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