Diabetes is one of the most prevalent diseases of the modern time affecting large numbers over the world. It is estimated that the disease will reach around 4.4 % of the worldwide population in 2030 after it was only 2.2% in 2000. The number of affected people is expected to rise from 171 million in 2000 to 366 million in 2030.
Diabetes affects the quality of life of patients, and these effects differ from patient to another. So, how diabetes affects quality of life of diabetic patients and what are the factors behind that?
A recently published study conducted by a group of researchers from Spain has investigated these factors that impact quality of life of diabetic patients. Researchers defined health-related quality of life, to which they refer to as (HRQoL), as “the physical, mental and social aspects of the disease in a person’s daily life and its impact on health”.
To investigate the impact of diabetes on patients’ quality of life and assess related factors, researchers took as reference “population norms, in a sample of patients with diagnosed diabetes.” A sample of 1,187 of diabetic patients, of whom 53.6% are women, participated in the study by answering questionnaires and interviews.
The first notice by researchers in this study published in a Journal of Research in Diabetes is that “the highest impact of diabetes occurs in middle-aged women (45-54 years). It is noticeable that the highest impact of diabetes occurs in middle-aged women (45-54 years). This is the group with the highest likelihood of poor physical and mental health (OR = 12.0 and 6.9, respectively), and which would need a special program of action.”
As part of the study inspect, researchers investigated the association of a number of factors and their impact on the quality of life in diabetic patients.
Different studies agree that physical activity is so important for diabetic patients. The current research as well noticed this impact and how it affects the patient’s quality of life. Researchers referred to different studies including for instance a study by Sorensen et al in which they stated that “there is also evidence for the contribution to HRQoL improvement in the prescription of physical exercise in physically inactive patients with, or at an increased risk of developing, lifestyle diseases.”
Comorbidity is one of the factors that affect the physical and mental health of patients is comorbidity. The latter is defined as the presence of one or more additional disorders co-occurring with a primary disease or disorder.
Researchers noticed that “patients with diabetes who had some other non-psychiatric conditions diagnosed had worse physical health (and also worse mental health in women) than patients without comorbidity.”
Besides, researchers noticed that type of treatment is among the elements that affect quality of life of patients. The study stated that “regarding the variables of treatment, it is worth noting the high proportion of patients with poor health among those medicated with insulin. Of those with insulin alone 34.2% and 43.4% presented poor physical and mental health, respectively, and 30.5% and 40.4% for those treated jointly with insulin and OAD.”
Education is another factor that affects patients with diabetes. As stated by researchers “education is a protective factor in physical health in men.” The impact of education on the patient’s quality of life “can be explained by healthier lifestyles, a higher knowledge about their disease, and a greater ability to relate with their health care providers and to choose and adhere to a treatment” the study stated.
In this study, researchers noticed that “living with a partner appears as a risk factor for poor mental health in women with diabetes.” Referring to previous studies, scientists mentioned that “the predictive ability for HRQoL of the relationship quality, suggesting that it is not the marital status per se but its quality what would explain this association”.
It is scientifically evident that smoking has negative effects on diabetic patients, and smokers are likely to develop diabetes more than nonsmokers. So, does smoking cessation have any impact on quality of life of patients?
In accordance with previous studies, researchers said that the results of their study “were consistent with available evidence supporting the potential benefits of smoking cessation in diabetic patients.”