Dexcom report finds that living with Type 2 diabetes leads to anxiety, depression at 'alarming' rates

A new survey from Dexcom suggests that living with Type 2 diabetes can have significant impacts not only on physical health but on mental health, too.

The diabetes devicemaker conducted the survey earlier this year, polling just over 850 people in the U.K., spanning people with Type 2 diabetes and their caregivers and healthcare professionals.

The resulting “State of Type 2” report found that many individuals are unaware about the facts of daily life with Type 2 diabetes, its potential long-term effects and its available treatments when they’re diagnosed.

The data show that just 10% of patients surveyed believed they knew “a lot” about the condition beforehand, and around half said they weren’t aware of its effects when they received the diagnosis. Meanwhile, even after diagnosis, just over a quarter of patients and caregivers surveyed still haven’t been properly educated about proper nutrition to help manage diabetes.

That lack of education about Type 2 diabetes has led to difficulties managing the condition for many, including nearly two-thirds of those surveyed, who cited ongoing challenges with their diets and mental health. Common concerns among newly diagnosed patients, according to the clinicians surveyed, include worries about long-term complications, diabetes-related health issues and the impact on their daily lives.

In a related statistic, the report found that 42% of patients and caregivers said the condition has had a negative impact on their mental health or that of the person they care for. The most common of these effects are anxiety and depression, affecting 61% and 52%, respectively, of those who reported a mental health impact.

“The Dexcom State of Type 2 report reveals that people trying to manage their Type 2 diabetes face significant impacts on all areas of their lives including, and perhaps particularly, their mental health,” Karen Baxter, vice president of the Northern Europe, South Africa, Israel and Malta geographical division for Dexcom, said in a company announcement this week.

She went on to suggest that Dexcom’s ONE+ continuous glucose monitor device—the U.K. launch of which was timed to the report’s release—could help improve the management of Type 2 diabetes.

“We’re proud to have developed a sensor that addresses the unmet needs of the Type 2 community,” she said. “Feedback from users and healthcare professionals already using Dexcom ONE+ indicates that the sensor is easy to use and motivational, as it provides a clearer understanding of how food and exercise choices affect glucose levels. Seeing real-time feedback can help alleviate the frustration many people, especially those with Type 2 diabetes, experience in understanding and managing their condition.”

The device’s launch ties into additional results of the survey that found 40% of patients and caregivers believe having access to a CGM’s real-time glucose tracking would significantly improve their daily management of the condition—even as only 9% of respondents said they fully understand what a CGM is and does and the vast majority are unaware that the devices are available via prescription for some people with Type 2 diabetes.

Though Type 2 users trail quite a ways behind Type 1 users of CGMs, more than 60% of the healthcare professionals surveyed predicted that the proportion of Type 2 patients using CGMs will increase in the next decade, and almost all of that group said they expect the devices to become a standard practice for Type 2 diabetes management.