Let’s be realistic about diabetes technology


We need to have realistic expectations about what diabetes treatments and technology can deliver so that we don’t add to the burden of young people living with diabetes, delegates have been told.

Speaking during a plenary session on biomedical and psychosocial outcomes in young persons with diabetes Lori Laffel from the Joslin Diabetes Center in the US said it was important that diabetes health professionals helped set realistic expectations around what diabetes treatments and devices could do.

“Ideally we would like people with diabetes to have total mental freedom, improved glycaemic control, save time, have better moods, better sleep, less conflict with family, a return to feeling normal’, less worry and a reduced burden for all involved,” she told delegates.

She said there were opportunities to use the great tools available to manage diabetes but there was a need to begin by acknowledging the barriers.

“We have to encourage family involvement and we need to provide ongoing education and support but we have to recognise the sometimes the treatments can create more hassle to the patient and their families than the benefits they afford, she said.

Problem solving strategies can be used to help overcome barriers to care, but providing realistic expectations – aiming for better – before best – is paramount, Dr Laffel told delegates.

“We need to ensure there are realistic expectations whenever we have new and terrific tools”.

She noted the role language played in setting expectations, for example the term ‘artificial pancreas’ was often banded around despite the fact that the technology was not a direct replacement for a functioning pancreas.

She suggested a term like “Semi-Automated Glucose Control” (SAG-C) would perhaps be more realistic.

Here’s what Diabetes Australia’s CEO Greg Johnson and Renza Scibilia had to say about the session.

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