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01.12.2018 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2018 Open Access

BMC Public Health 1/2018

The role of hypoglycemia in the burden of living with diabetes among adults with diabetes and family members: results from the DAWN2 study in The Netherlands

BMC Public Health > Ausgabe 1/2018
Giesje Nefs, François Pouwer



To examine the relation between self-reported hypoglycemic events, worries about these episodes, and the burden of diabetes in adults with diabetes and family members from The Netherlands.


As part of the second multinational Diabetes Attitudes, Wishes and Needs (DAWN2) study, 412 Dutch adults with type 1 or type 2 diabetes and 86 family members completed questions about the burden of living with diabetes, the frequency of hypoglycemia, worries about these events, and several demographic and clinical factors. Analyses included hierarchical logistic regression.


In total, 41% of people with diabetes and 56% of family members considered diabetes at least somewhat of a burden. In people with diabetes, diabetes burden was independently associated with self-reported current insulin use (fully adjusted OR = 2.75, 95% CI 1.49–5.10), self-reported frequent non-severe hypoglycemia in the past year (OR = 2.45, 1.25–4.83), self-reported severe hypoglycemia in the past year (OR = 1.91, 1.02–3.58), and being very worried about hypoglycemia at least occasionally (OR = 3.64, 2.18–6.10). For family members, the odds of experiencing living with diabetes as a burden was increased only for participants who were at least occasionally very worried about hypoglycemia (adjusted OR = 5.07, 1.12–23.00).


Approximately half of adults with diabetes and adult family members experienced at least some diabetes burden. In both groups, diabetes burden appeared to be associated with being very worried about hypoglycemia at least occasionally. If these results are replicated, new intervention studies could test new ways of decreasing the traumatic consequences of previous or anticipated hypoglycemic events for people with diabetes and family members.
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