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Diabetes-related stress may affect blood sugar

Diabetes • • StressApr 01, 09

Adults with type 2 diabetes appear to have better blood sugar control when they report less diabetes-related stress and feel more satisfied with their treatment regimen, study findings suggest.

By contrast, men and women feeling greater diabetes-related distress had more complications and less optimal blood sugar control, Dr. Takehiro Nozaki and colleagues report in the journal BioPsychoSocial Medicine.

These findings highlight, for both patients and clinicians, the importance of understanding that “psychological aspects concerning diabetes treatment influence glycemic control,” Nozaki told Reuters Health.

Nozaki, from Kyushu University in Fukuoka, Japan, and colleagues analyzed the responses on six self-reported questionnaires completed by 290 Japanese men and women who were an average of 61 years old and had type 2 diabetes for an average of nearly 12 years.

At the beginning of the study and 1 year later, Nozaki’s team measured HbA1c blood levels to determine their level of glycemic control.

As noted, the investigators found that patients with poor scores on the Diabetes Treatment Satisfaction Questionnaire (DTSQ) and the Problem Areas in Diabetes Survey (PAIDS) survey had high blood sugar levels at the beginning and the end of the study. Similarly, more optimal blood sugar levels were seen among the diabetics who scored well on the PAIDS and DTSQ.

Among the other potential predictors of high blood sugar were age, diet treatment plan and number of vascular complications. But after the final multiple regression analysis, the only factor that remained significantly correlated with blood sugar was diabetes treatment.

Moreover, the associations between diabetes-related distress and satisfaction with diabetes treatment seemed to predict future glycemic control independently of current glycemic control, Nozaki said.

The investigators call for further research to determine whether improvement of glycemic control results in decreased distress and increased treatment satisfaction, or if improved psychosocial factors bring about better glycemic control.

SOURCE: BioPsychoSocial Medicine, March 2009.

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