Diabetes is putting a strain on families around the world

28 November 2018

IDF research reveals that half of people living with diabetes feel their diagnosis has put a strain on their family.

As diabetes awareness month draws to a close, the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) warns that diabetes now concerns every family. More than 425 million people are living with diabetes worldwide. According to research from IDF, many people with diabetes are concerned about burdening their families because of their condition. IDF is calling for more action to support people with diabetes, to reduce the potential anxiety and financial pressures that families can face.

The latest research from IDF, which questioned 7,000 people about diabetes in seven countries, found that half of people living with diabetes (51%) felt their diagnosis had put a strain on their family. Two in five (43%) said they had felt anxious when they were diagnosed and a similar number (46%) did not want to be a burden to their families.

Concerns over a family member’s quality of life are often compounded by financial pressures and access to treatment when diabetes is diagnosed – especially in developing countries. Almost 100 years since insulin was first used to treat type 1 diabetes, many continue to have difficulty accessing affordable and regular diabetes medication and care.,

Julieta Laudani, an Argentine mother, discovered her daughter Francesca’s type 1 diabetes when her child was just 18-months-old.

Julieta said: “As a family, we made the decision to act as if we all had diabetes. We do as she does. We are a solid family block and we pull forward together.

But Julieta knows her family is an exception and that many others face a harder struggle. She would like to see more being done to help other families to manage.

“I feel fortunate. Francesca's got the best insulin pump available in our country. I get the insulin and other supplies that she needs. But unfortunately, that isn't everyone's reality. We know our experience isn't matched by many. We are privileged to have insurance coverage that provides access to the best possible care.”

IDF is calling on governments and healthcare services to reduce the strain by giving families around the world better access to diabetes treatment and education. Globally, only one in four families have access to diabetes education programmes.

Prof. Nam H. Cho, President of the International Diabetes Federation said: “Families have a significant role to play in supporting loved ones with diabetes, but they need help on how best to cope with the financial and emotional pressures that a diabetes diagnosis can bring. While families are often a great comfort to many of us during our times of need, people living with diabetes have told us that a diagnosis can create anxiety and cause additional stress that many find it difficult to cope with,” he said.

Diabetes is one of the leading causes of blindness, heart attack, kidney failure and limb loss, so when a family member is diagnosed it can be a very frightening time. It is therefore vital that healthcare providers and governments increase their efforts to ensure better access to treatment and education for all families affected.

For more information about diabetes awareness month, visit www.worlddiabetesday.org.

About the research

The research comprised of on an online survey of 7,000 people, consisting of statistical representations from the United Kingdom, Brazil, China, India, South Africa, Turkey and the United States of America. Nationally representative quotas were applied for gender, age (18 to 65 years old) and region. The full research results can be made available upon request.

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