Forgetfulness and confusion: Hidden complications of treating T2D

Living with type 2 diabetes can be a lot to handle, involving many medications, drastic lifestyle changes like dietary restrictions and constant monitoring of blood glucose. Health Union’s Type 2 Diabetes In America 2018 survey revealed that forgetfulness and uncertainty may play a bigger role in a person’s ability to manage their condition than often considered.

According to the Type 2 Diabetes In America 2018 survey of 2,024 people living with the condition, respondents report that uncertainty is a common barrier to managing type 2 diabetes. Although 2 in 10 experience high blood sugar at least once a day, more than half are not confident they are using the proper medication and/or dosage to control their blood sugar. Additionally, while 95% of respondents report testing their own blood sugar, there is uncertainty about whether people are testing their blood sugar at the appropriate times throughout the day with 24% reporting somewhat, 8% slightly, and 12% not at all confident.

Since a person living with type 2 diabetes may be juggling many different tasks associated with the condition, forgetfulness tends to occur and impacts one’s ability to correctly manage their health. Half of patients cite that they have forgotten to take their medication as scheduled over the past month. Forgetfulness is also a common barrier to self-monitoring of blood sugar on a regular basis–24% of those who do not monitor their blood sugar on a regular basis say they mean to but forget.

When it comes to treatment decisions, the forgetfulness and uncertainty manifest into a lack of confidence for some patients. Patients say they are only moderately involved in their treatment decisions and are not apt to seek out information on the latest medications. This is demonstrated by the survey respondents’ lack of awareness of new medications in development—very few respondents were aware of any treatments that were not currently in the market.

To help people overcome uncertainty and forgetfulness when managing type 2 diabetes, more educational materials and resources may be needed for learning to manage and monitor blood sugar properly, helping improve confidence and therefore overall health and management of the condition. Increasing awareness of medications new to the market or in the pipeline may help people understand how newer treatments are changing type 2 diabetes medication options and how they can better manage their type 2 diabetes.

An online health community like Type2Diabetes.com benefits people living with type 2 diabetes by providing information, connection and validation that helps them along the journey. Simultaneously, it allows pharmaceutical partners a unique opportunity to understand the full context around patient needs, and reach and engage with people in the moments they need it most.