Background: Diabetes distress (DD) refers to unique, often hidden emotional burdens and worries, distinct from clinical depression, that are part of the spectrum of patient experience when managing diabetes.

Aim: To assess DD and its association with various parameters in patients with T2DM.

Methodology: A cross sectional study was done on 262 out-patients with T2DM in a multispecialty hospital in South India. DD was measured by DDS-17, a 17-item self-reported DD scale used with subscales in 4 domains - Emotional burden (EB), Physician, Regimen and Interpersonal distress. Overall score <2.0 was little or no distress, 2.0-2.9 moderate, ≥3.0 was high distress. Data was analysed using SPSS version 11.5.

Results: Mean age of participants was 59.7 ± 9.1 years. Females constituted 71.8%. BMI was ≤ 25kg/m2 in 32.8%. Duration of diabetes was <10 years in 42%. Insulin was used by 45%. Mean HbA1c was 8.7±1.7%. Prevalence of DD was 27.9%, with moderate distress in 22.1% and high distress in 5.7%. Mean total DD score was 1.67± 0.59. Mean for EB, physician-related, regimen-related and interpersonal distress were (2.1 ± 1.02), (1.09 ± 0.33), (1.92 ± 0.89), (1.30± 0.76) respectively. Total DD had significant association with BMI (p=0.04), duration of T2DM (p=0.04), HbA1c (p=0.01), neuropathy (p=0.002) and nephropathy (p=0.008). EB, considered most important domain, was associated with duration of T2DM (p=0.02), insulin use (p=0.002), neuropathy (p<0.001), nephropathy (p=0.008), high HbA1c levels (p=0.001), ASCVD in females (p<0.001). Regimen related distress was more in those with high HbA1c (p=0.001) and smokers (p=0.04).

Discussion: The study, first of its kind from South India, identifies high prevalence of DD in this population. Assessment of DD should be integrated into patients’ self-care plan. Patients become more involved in managing diabetes if their specific emotional distress are taken care of, and have a better sense of social care, health control and self-efficacy.


P. Sankar: None. P. Sasikumar: None. R. Medayil: None. R. Jacob: None. S. Sasidharan: None.

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