Factors Affecting the Ability of People With Diabetes to Avoid Hypoglycemia

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Abstract

Background:

Hypoglycemia is recognized as a limiting factor in diabetes management. Fear of experiencing hypoglycemia may lead to lower quality of life, impaired glycemic control, and emotional distress, all of which impair the ability of patients to self-manage their diabetes effectively. Problem solving is central to diabetes self-management and may help patients achieve effective self-care of their disease.

Purpose:

The aim of this study was to investigate the ability of people with diabetes to avoid hypoglycemia and to explore associated factors.

Methods:

A cross-sectional, descriptive design was used for the study. Data were collected using a demographic and disease characteristics datasheet, the Hypoglycemic Problem Solving Scale, and the Disease-Associated Negative Mood Scale.

Results:

Three hundred thirteen participants were recruited, with a mean age of 55.49 years. The average item score for the questions on hypoglycemic problem-solving ability was 2.43 (SD = 0.75). In comparing Hypoglycemic Problem Solving Scale subscales, participants scored highest on the problem orientation subscales and lowest on the problem-solving skills subscales. Multiple regression analysis revealed that being younger and unmarried and having a higher level of education, a diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes, and a lower negative mood score were each significantly associated with greater problem-solving ability as regards hypoglycemic events.

Conclusions/Implications for Practice:

We suggest that patients with diabetes, especially those who are older or with lower levels of education, receive disease-related psychological interventions and that healthcare professionals teach problem-solving abilities in conjunction with hypoglycemia management.

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