The health crisis linked to Covid-19 has caused anxiety and concern among many French people. And what has been the experience of patients suffering from a chronic disease and more particularly from diabetes? A study conducted by CSA for Roche Diabetes Care France (1) with 504 diabetic patients takes stock of their feelings and their management of the disease during this very special period.
As the health crisis progressed, experts warned of the increased risks of developing serious forms of Covid-19 for people with diabetes. This vulnerability was particularly felt by 59% of respondents. So much so that 37% feel more concerned about their state of health as a diabetic since the start of the crisis. This anxiety persists even since the “deconfinement”: fear of a rebound of the disease with a reconfinement (36%), or of contracting the virus (34%).
At the heart of the health crisis, 13% felt even more alone when faced with their illness. In fact, 41% of patients who had a scheduled consultation during this period had their appointment canceled or postponed, including 73% by the healthcare professional himself. These figures are particularly significant in the diabetologist (16%) or in the medical biology laboratory (13%).
How did their illness develop?
The confinement had consequences on the diabetes of the respondents, and this in a rather positive sense: 45% of them thus noted an evolution of their diabetes and, among them, 28% believe that it has balanced ( 37% of type 1 diabetics against 26% for type 2 diabetics).
A quarter of respondents said they were more motivated to take better care of their condition. In addition, 38% of the rebalances are due to an increase in physical activity and 33% to a better controlled diet. Other reason mentioned: teleworking and having had access to a health professional. Results confirmed by doctor Françoise Giroud-Baleydier, diabetologist: “I saw in consultation that 3/4 of my patients saw their diabetes improve: being less stressed, taking more time to take care of them by being vigilant about their food and making l activity, these patients have successfully rebalanced their diabetes. “
Primary care pharmacists and pharmacists
For a quarter of the respondents, the attending physician was the main support during confinement. In 41% of the cases, the consultation took place face to face. Nevertheless, long-distance contacts with healthcare professionals have greatly appealed to patients. A total of 38% used it, especially type 1 diabetics (51%).
Finally, 74% of diabetics continued to go to pharmacies. This further strengthens the proximity role of pharmacies, particularly in terms of support and medical information. “These figures attest to the fundamental role played by local health actors. The pharmacists reacted very quickly, allowing patients to feel safe in the pharmacy. City medicine has also mobilized, and has fully played its health but also social role with patients in need of information“.
What about seniors?
Particularly at risk of complications, how have senior diabetics lived in recent months? Only 5% had more contact with their doctor during confinement, compared to 24% for diabetics under the age of 60. However, this should not obscure a difficult situation for elderly patients. The 28% of diabetics who have found a rebalancing of their diabetes during confinement are mainly under the age of 60: 35% among those under 60 years of age versus 23% among those over 60 years of age. Finally, the majority of seniors feel that they did not receive any special support during confinement (58%). A very important feeling in type 2 diabetics (76%).
(1) Study carried out online by CSA from 18 to 27 May 2020 on a sample of 504 patients with diabetes (101 type 1 diabetics and 403 type 2 diabetics).