University of Hull and Hull York Medical School research identifies and addresses negative impact of the condition to drive innovation in healthcare and treatment.
The importance of helping people manage the isolation and loneliness of diabetes has been highlighted in new research by the University of Hull and Hull York Medical School.
The study, which surveyed 3000 people in Hull and the East Riding living with type 2 diabetes – one of the most common chronic diseases in the world, focuses on the views and experiences of those with the condition – and has resulted in a series of recommendations to address their concerns and drive innovation in healthcare.
Professor Una Macleod, Dean of Hull York Medical School, said:
“The identification of issues such as loneliness and the stigma felt by people with type 2 diabetes will enable advances to be made in the support and treatment of the condition. The University of Hull and Hull York Medical School are committed to improving the health of people within our region and this is just one example of how our work is affecting diagnosis, guidance and treatment.”
Feelings of embarrassment, blame and guilt often characterise the experience of living with type 2 diabetes. It is frequently associated with negative perceptions and stigma. Many people with type 2 feel they are perceived by society in general as a burden on the health service.
Susan Hopcroft, who was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in March 2015, said: “It was hard to accept. Everyone knows that with type 1 diabetes – you are born with it. But if you have type 2 people think it is your fault, that you haven’t looked after yourself properly.”
At Christmas, the daily necessity of self-monitoring glucose levels and dietary constraints can be especially debilitating for those with diabetes.
“It is difficult to manage my condition on a daily basis and that can really affect what I choose to do – whether to go out or just stay at home. For example, at Christmas or going out for a friend’s birthday it isn’t easy to cope with not being able to eat the same food, the same birthday cake as everyone else. So instead – you just don’t go out.”
In Hull and East Yorkshire, there are more than 29,000 people with type 2 diabetes. Like type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes is a lifelong condition that causes a person’s blood glucose level to become too high. Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body doesn’t produce enough insulin or the body’s cells do not react to insulin. In the UK, around 90% of all adults with diabetes have type 2 diabetes.
Liz Walker, Professor of Health and Social Work Research at the University of Hull, said: