The Research Partnership study reveals that diabetes can have a major effect on people's lives

A new research study carried out by The Research Partnership reveals that living with diabetes can have a major effect on people's lives, with just under half (44%) of type 2 patients reporting that the condition has impacted on either their ability or their desire to have sex.

The study was conducted online amongst 2,000 patients with type 2 diabetes living in the US, UK and Germany and investigated patients' attitudes, feelings, health status, drug treatment programmes and needs for coping with life with diabetes. The findings reveal that living with diabetes can affect many areas of people's lives. Whilst most people do feel in control of their condition, many do not feel that they are managing their diabetes well, with almost half of US patients (43%) reporting that they are sometimes or often unsuccessful in managing their condition.

In all countries investigated, as many as one in every two people feel that diabetes has an impact on their general mood. However, men and women were found to respond very differently to their condition. Men are significantly more likely to feel calm and confident, whilst women are more likely to feel challenged, frustrated or tired.

Many people with type 2 diabetes are in denial about how their lifestyle affects their health. Over half of patients are also receiving treatment for high blood pressure and high cholesterol and the majority are overweight. Over half claim to spend a lot of time thinking about their health, say they eat well and make sure they stay healthy, but many are clearly not managing to stick to a good diet and exercise regime. The vast majority in the UK and US are clinically obese, and around a third of patients from all countries never engage in any physical exercise. The survey found a clear correlation between those with a high BMI index and lack of exercise. Interestingly, whilst doctors in all countries mostly advise a better diet and more exercise, in the US a third of doctors are also likely to recommend vitamins and nutritional supplements.

On the whole, patients enjoy a good relationship with their doctor and the vast majority feel that their doctor takes their condition seriously. But a fifth sometimes feel as though their doctor is annoyed with them for not managing their diabetes, and this is particularly the case in the US. Just over one in ten feel that their doctor makes unrealistic suggestions about their lifestyle. An analysis of the survey revealed five segments of patients with similar attitudes and behaviours. Two of these groups (predominantly comprising younger people) had particularly negative feelings about living with diabetes and these groups also feel they have a poor relationship with their doctor. They are more likely to feel the doctor offers unrealistic advice and "nags" them to change their diet and exercise regime.

The majority of people surveyed would like to see better new treatments in the future, particularly ones that are easier to use, don't involve the use of insulin and help patients control their weight.

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