Families play an important role in how well African Americans with diabetes manage their disease, a study shows.
This implies that ” broadening the focus of care to include family relationships of patients with type 2 diabetes offers health care professionals a way to influence better diabetes management,” Catherine A. Chesla told Reuters Health. Chesla, a registered nurse and professor at the University of California in San Francisco, and her colleagues looked at a number of family factors, relationships and beliefs among 159 African Americans with type 2 diabetes. Their average age was 54, and they had had diabetes for more than 7years, on average. As the team had expected, they found that “disease management is better in African-American patients from families believing optimistically that life has order, meaning, and manageability.” These characteristics are associated with better patient morale, including fewer symptoms of depression as well as better self-reported general health and diabetes-related quality of life, according to the report in the medical journal Diabetes Care. In contrast, unresolved family conflict and a negative family emotional tone had an adverse effect on diabetes control. “Emotional agility, specifically the family’s ability to resolve diabetes-related conflicts, was the key feature of family life” associated with good diabetes management, Chesla told Reuters Health. Summing up, she said, “Most diabetes management is in the patient’s hands. Including significant family members in treatment, and assisting patients and their family members to negotiate differences regarding diabetes care in the home … holds promise for improving personal management of this complex disease.” (Source: Diabetes Care, Reuters, December 2004.)