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Take control of your diabetes

7 December 2010

Tackling negative perceptions about Type 2 diabetes can encourage patients to change their approach to taking care of themselves and improve specific health outcomes.

Almost 200,000 people in Ireland have Type2 diabetes, but around a quarter of them are not even aware that they have it, and the number of new cases of Type 2 diabetes is predicted to rise here by one third over the next five years.

Many patients have negative beliefs or illness perceptions about their diabetes, which can lead to poor control of the condition, poor outcomes and additional care requirements in the long term.

Dr Susan Smith, Dr Karen Keogh and their team at Trinity College worked with 121 patients with poorly controlled Type 2 diabetes. Of these, 61 had the usual care for diabetes, while 60 received additional motivational interviews to tackle false beliefs about diabetes each week for three weeks. The first two sessions were delivered with a family member present in the person?s own home; the final was a telephone interview with the patient alone.

Those who received the motivational interviews had better blood sugar controland psychological well being, the researchers found. In addition, those patients were taking on board diet and exercise recommendations more readily compared to the group who received no intervention.

?As we progress towards treating chronic diseases in a primary care setting, it is essential that we understand which approaches will work, have the best outcomes for patients, as well as minimising impact on service delivery,? says Dr Smith.

?This study clearly shows that if the correct approach is taken in supporting patients when they find out they have a disease, they will take control of it more effectively themselves, improving their outcomes and reducing impact on services.?


  • An effective intervention for patients with poorly controlled Type 2 diabetes.
  • Reduced costs in long-term as a result of patients managing their disease more effectively.

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