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Medical advances are important but we believe the key to living successfully with diabetes is something else entirely, write Deakin University's Professor Jane Speight and her colleagues, Dr Christel Hendrieckx and Dr Jessica L Browne in The Conversation.
Professor Speight is the Foundation Director of The Australian Centre for Behavioural Research in Diabetes and holds the Chair of Behavioural and Social Research in Diabetes, Deakin University
Paying attention to the behavioural and psychological aspects of the condition is crucial to managing diabetes and preventing its complications, the authors continue.
Once diagnosed, type 1 and type 2 diabetes are lifelong conditions. Each imposes a complex self-care regimen that can be difficult to sustain. Optimal self-care includes healthy eating, regular physical activity, taking medications as recommended, checking blood glucose levels, and attending medical appointments.
New technologies such as insulin pumps, continuous glucose monitors, and smart-phone apps are enticing but they are not a panacea. Studies typically show that people who do well with these put more time and effort into their self-care, not less. And while technologies can make self-care easier for some, they can make it more challenging for others.
Deakin University is a supporter of The Conversation.