Diabetes Spectrum
Volume 13 Number , 2000, Page 48
Diabetes Spectrum/ Patient Information

Diabetes and Quality of Life

Diabetes is a demanding disease, so it can affect your life in many ways. Managing your diabetes can be stressful. The way you feel when your blood glucose levels are low or really high adds to the stress. On top of that, there are the worries that you might develop complications, and the burden of dealing with any complications you may already have. It is no wonder that many people feel that diabetes affects their quality of life.

Why is quality of life important for people with diabetes?
Part of the answer is obvious: everyone wants to have the best possible quality of life. It just feels good to be satisfied and happy. But there is another reason, as well. Just as diabetes can affect your quality of life, your quality of life can affect your diabetes. When you are feeling good about your life in general and about your life with diabetes in particular, you have more energy to take good care of your diabetes. And when you take good care of yourself, you are likely to feel better day-to-day and to stay healthier in the long run. Feeling better and staying healthy give a further boost to your quality of life. So good quality of life activates a self-reinforcing positive cycle.

How does diabetes affect quality of life?
Aspects of life with diabetes that may affect your quality of life include:

  • The never-ending demands of diabetes care, such as eating carefully, exercising, monitoring blood glucose, and scheduling and planning
  • Symptoms of low or very high blood glucose
  • Fears about or the reality of complications

How can I judge my quality of life?
The specific things each person needs to feel satisfied and happy are unique to him or her. Still, there are some things most people would agree are important. Your quality of life is your own sense of how satisfied and happy you are with your life in general and your life with diabetes in particular. Here are a few questions that could help you estimate your quality of life:

  • How satisfied are you with your physical health?
  • How satisfied are you with the amount of work it takes to manage your diabetes?
  • Do you often feel overwhelmed by the demands of your diabetes?
  • Do you feel depressed?
  • Do you feel you can't do things that are important to you because of diabetes?

What can I do to improve my quality of life?
If you think you might be depressed, talk to your health care provider about how you are feeling. Depression is much more common in people with diabetes. Depression is the pits. It feels terrible, and it makes good diabetes self-care almost impossible. Fortunately, there are effective treatments for people with diabetes who are depressed. So be sure to ask for the help you need.

If you are struggling under the burden of diabetes and all of your other responsibilities, you need and deserve help, even if you are not clinically depressed. Many diabetes health care professionals are trained to help their patients adjust treatment regimens to ease the burden of diabetes management while maintaining good blood glucose control and  good health. These providers may also be able to help you improve your day-to-day diabetes coping skills.

If you need more help, see if you can find a diabetes education program in your area that is approved by the American Diabetes Association. These programs are designed to help people with diabetes live better with their disease, and they emphasize the importance of ADA logo.GIF (1097 bytes)effective coping and problem solving for maintaining good quality of life with diabetes. Call 1-800-676-4065 for information about ADA-approved programs in your area.

Permission is granted to reproduce this material for nonprofit educational purposes. Written permission is required for all other purposes. 1/00


Return to Issue Contents

Copyright 2000 American Diabetes Association

Last updated: 3/00
For Technical Issues contact
webmaster@diabetes.org