Study aims to support self-management of diabetes

University of Otago human nutrition researcher Dr Sara Styles holds a Dexcom G6 continuous blood...
University of Otago human nutrition researcher Dr Sara Styles holds a Dexcom G6 continuous blood glucose monitoring system which can send glucose results to a cellphone and gives alerts to low and high glucose levels. PHOTO: LINDA ROBERTSON
The University of Otago is looking for young people to participate in a nationwide type 1 diabetes clinical trial, which aims to improve the health and wellbeing of all people with diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes usually manifests in childhood when cells in the pancreas are destroyed by the immune system.

The cells help control blood glucose levels by secreting insulin, and without them, people living with this disease have a considerable lifelong burden of managing their blood glucose levels.

University of Otago human nutrition researcher Dr Sara Styles said adolescence and young adulthood was a time when optimal glycaemic control was hardest to achieve for those living with type 1 diabetes.

"Self-management is essential to maintain optimal blood glucose levels.

"However, despite improvements in diabetes care and advances in diabetes technology, adolescents and young adults with diabetes remain at high risk for suboptimal glycaemic control and subsequent long-term complications," Dr Styles said.

So she is leading the Optimise Study, which will employ a multi-pronged approach to help young people better manage the process.

She said getting enough sleep, snacking as part of a routine meal plan, coping with diabetes and frequent glucose level checks were all important for young people living with type 1 diabetes.

"The purpose of the Optimise Study is to find out if combining brief interventions that target each of these behaviours will help glucose levels stay in a healthy range.

"This research will focus on those in the 13-20 years age group who have had blood glucose levels above the recommended range over the last six months."

The study would run for six weeks and depending on which study group the participants were randomly assigned to, they might be asked to do continuous glucose monitoring (using a Dexcom G6 continuous blood glucose monitoring system), receive education on healthful snacking, take part in a tailored bedtime to extend sleep time or have a values-guided self-management goal-setting session.



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