Improvement and Emergence of Insulin Restriction in Women With Type 1 Diabetes

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OBJECTIVETo determine the distinguishing characteristics of women who report stopping insulin restriction at 11 years of follow-up from those continuing to endorse insulin restriction as well as those characteristics differing in patients who continue to use insulin appropriately from new insulin restrictors.RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODSThis is an 11-year follow-up study of 207 women with type 1 diabetes. Insulin restriction, diabetes self-care behaviors, diabetes-specific distress, and psychiatric and eating disorder symptoms were assessed using self-report surveys.RESULTSOf the original sample, 57% participated in the follow-up study. Mean age was 44 ± 12 years, diabetes duration was 28 ± 11 years, and A1C was 7.9 ± 1.3%. At follow-up, 20 of 60 baseline insulin restrictors had stopped restriction. Women who stopped reported improved diabetes self-care and distress, fewer problems with diabetes self-management, and lower levels of psychologic distress and eating disorder symptoms. Logistic regression indicated that lower levels of fear of weight gain with improved blood glucose and fewer problems with diabetes self-management predicted stopping restriction. At follow-up, 34 women (23%) reported new restriction, and a larger proportion of new insulin restrictors, relative to nonrestrictors, endorsed fear of weight gain with improved blood glucose.CONCLUSIONSFindings indicate that fear of weight gain associated with improved blood glucose and problems with diabetes self-care are core issues related to both the emergence and resolution of insulin restriction. Greater attention to these concerns may help treatment teams to better meet the unique treatment needs of women struggling with insulin restriction.

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