Diabetes impacts patients and spouses.


Older patients with diabetes who are dealing well with the disease still are likely to have symptoms of depression, and spouses of older patients also suffer distress related to diabetes and its management, according to research published in Family Studies. "Responsibilities and anxieties can differ for patients with diabetes and their spouses, but each may experience stress, frustration, and sadness at times related to the demands of living with this disease," contends Melissa M. Franks, a family studies specialist

"We know spouses often support their partners but, in our work, we want to know what form their involvement takes and how the disease and its management affect both the patient and the spouse."

Diabetes affects about one in five Americans over the age of 60, and the majority of those people have type 2 diabetes, which is a disease of the endocrine system. Also referred to as adult-onset diabetes, it is caused by insufficient secretion of insulin and resistance to insulin, which is problematic because it lessens the ability of cells to absorb glucose from the bloodstream. The incidence of the disease--considered a leading cause of death--is increasing as more people are overweight and sedentary.

It is managed daily through diet, exercise, and medications. Complications--such as poor blood circulation, vision impairment heart disease, and stroke--are possible. In this study, spouses often reported that the disease's daily management, as...

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