Diabetes requires round-the-clock attention but sometimes people hit a barrier known as diabetes burnout.
Laura Kennedy, a type 2 diabetes patient, is familiar with the feeling.
“Diabetes is a long-term illness and it requires constant focus, constant attention and you just get sick of it,” said Kennedy.
Betsy Richter-Gifford, B.S.N., R.N., CDCES, a diabetes care and education specialist at Texas Health Resources says a lack of motivation can set in, and people will avoid going to medical checkups and monitoring blood sugar levels. They may also make unhealthy food choices.
But succumbing to diabetes burnout is serious and can be harmful.
“Elevated blood sugars, over time, can cause damage to our body can lead to things like a heart attack or a stroke,” said Richter Gifford.
“For people with Type 1 diabetes, their body does not make any insulin, so if their burnout goes unaddressed and they stop taking insulin, they can develop a life-threatening condition called diabetic ketoacidosis, which requires immediate treatment.”
Richter-Gifford stressed that support from family and friends is critical for people experiencing diabetes burnout.
Support groups and mobile apps can help you stay motivated.
“Acknowledge their feelings of exhaustion and frustration from living with this disease,” said Richter-Gifford. “Give your loved one a safe space to express their frustration and sadness. Also, be there to celebrate with them the things that they are doing well to manage their diabetes.”
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