A new report released today highlights the psychological, wellbeing and quality of life issues facing young Australians with type 1 diabetes and their parents.
This is the first, large national Australian survey of its kind focused on how young people with diabetes (and their parents) feel about and manage the condition as they transition through childhood into adulthood.
“The Diabetes MILES Youth report was funded by the National Diabetes Services Scheme,” says Prof Greg Johnson, CEO of Diabetes Australia, “and key findings were that one in four young people aged 13–19 years’ experience moderate to severe symptoms of anxiety and depression, and girls were more likely to report severe symptoms.
“While two out of three young people report good quality of life, 18% felt they often have too much responsibility for their diabetes care.
“The most common issue for girls was ‘worrying about their weight’ whereas boys were most concerned about ‘friends and family not understanding how difficult living with diabetes can be.
“Around one in three young people with diabetes are known to need mental health support and 30–40% of young people with type 1 diabetes are “lost in transition” from paediatric to adult diabetes care.”
Director of the Australian Centre for Behavioural Research in Diabetes, Professor Jane Speight says living with diabetes places significant self-care and psychological demands on young people and their families.
“A third of parents reported impaired general emotional well-being and 8% of parents experienced severe anxiety symptoms,” Prof Speight says.
“Almost half of the parents surveyed (48%) were frequently worried about their child experiencing hypoglycaemia.”
One in three young people reported experiencing four or more hypoglycaemic episodes per week, and one third reported at least one episode of severe hypoglycaemia in the past 12 months.
“About a quarter of the young people often worried about having a hypoglycaemic event while asleep,” says Prof Speight.
“Parents worried most frequently about the future and the possibility of their child developing complications.”