Non-adherence in diabetes patients – what can be done?

Today I saw a documentary about people who got diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, but have problems with living the right lifestyle for helping them improve their condition. Both my mother and my grandmother on my father’s side have diabetes, and they have problems with living a healthier lifestyle as well. Why?

I noticed that the argumentation that professionals in the documentary use to make people understand their problem was telling them the numbers. Your blood sugar is THAT HIGH. Here is your number!

So? When they know that, what happens?

Almost all of the people in the movie had ignored their diagnosis and just continued to live as they had been before! (And later got in trouble with side effects of diabetes and death threat).

So if knowing a number is not motivating enough for a durable change, then what is?

The problem is, that people must change a whole lot to manage their disease: the diet, the lifestyle, monitoring blood sugar levels and sticking themselves when needed. But with all those changes the people don’t get an instant feedback or reward for their actions. The only thing they can get is a lower number on their blood sugar monitor!

So if we know, that a blood sugar number won’t motivate a durable changе, what can a diabetic do to help him/herself to actually do what is needed? I believe he or she can improve the following:

  • The accessibility of insulin syringe, so that it becomes a part of the daily routine. When it’s easy, it has greater chance to work. Placing the syringe next to the plate at breakfast can help?
  • The ease of use. Modern syringes that look stylish and easy to use will help.
  • Setting a strong system of rewards for small actions each day. There’s a need to connect the sticking and healthy lifestyle choices with instant rewards. It could be financial rewards, it could be points on a smartphone app or it could be social approval from the group of other diabetes patients.

Here is the link to the movie, if you are interested: Overcoming Obstacles in Treating Your Diabetes

What ideas do you have – how can a diabetes patient help himself to be consistent with a healthier lifestyle?

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