Better outcomes may be possible if family members receive support to help their loved ones with diabetes, according to the DAWN2 study, with analysis led by a Penn State College of Medicine researcher.

In the current finding, the researchers describe how diabetes affects the lifestyle of–and relationship between–the person with diabetes and the family members most involved with their care.

More than 2,000 adult families participated in an Internet, phone or in-person survey. Two-thirds of participants were women and most were a spouse, partner or parent of an adult with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes.

Researchers identified four themes:

• Family members worry about the day-to-day struggles of the person with diabetes

• Diabetes causes an emotional strain in the relationship between family members and the person with diabetes.

• Family members believe they have some support resources to deal with the burdens and lifestyle changes of diabetes…

• Family members are inspired by their loved one’s experience of living with diabetes and they may feel motivated to eat healthier.

“Even if monumental policy changes don’t happen, we hope physicians and other healthcare providers will say, ’There is something very simple I can do – invite a family member to accompany the person with diabetes at their medical visits’,” Stuckey said.

Source: Diabetes Challenges and Inspires Family Members, Study Finds