This National Diabetes Week, it’s time to talk about diabetes and mental health


New research has shown that up to 50% of people living with diabetes are thought to suffer from depression or anxiety, with more than 20% most worried about the constant burden of daily diabetes management, including glucose monitoring.

Conducted by Diabetes Australia, the research brings to light the significant mental and emotional health impact of diabetes as part of the ‘Heads Up’ campaign for National Diabetes Awareness Week 2020.

Source: Diabetes Australia

The research shows that people with diabetes must make an extra 180 decisions every day which leads to distress, anxiety and burnout. 

A critical part of this decision making process is the crucial need for people living with diabetes to test their glucose levels multiple times per day, which is invasive, painful and inconvenient. 

“For people with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, testing your glucose levels is crucial to making a plethora of decisions on a daily basis,” Athena Kolivos, Chief Scientific Officer CRC and Farmaforce said.

“These decisions involve balancing your food intake with exercise, lifestyle activities and medications based on the results from regular glucose monitoring. This means enduring the pain of pricking your finger, waiting for a glucose measurement and then doing various calculations, multiple times per day. For a person living with diabetes, the simple act of having breakfast and walking to work involves pricking yourself every single time.”

Studies have shown that invasive finger-pricking to test glucose levels in blood is a source of stress for people living with diabetes. 

According to the British Journal of Diabetes, finger prick anxiety was observed in 30% of individuals with diabetes and general anxiety in 33%. Positive correlations were found for finger prick anxiety with avoidance of testing, and also with general anxiety. 

It’s an experience echoed by many people living with diabetes, as outlined in a recent article on Healthline: “With frequent testing, keeping tabs on your blood sugar can feel like it’s taking over your life. It affects meals and social outings. You can’t travel light if you have to lug a bag full of testing supplies everywhere you go. When it’s time to test, you might stress about where to do it. You can either excuse yourself and search for a bathroom, or deal with your friends’ stares as you draw blood in front of them.”

Currently, the only approved methods to monitor glucose levels in people with diabetes are painful, invasive and inconvenient. 

It’s an unmet need being addressed by The iQ Group Global with the Saliva Glucose Biosensor, a non-invasive diagnostic test that measures glucose in saliva instead of blood.

“What we know is that there is a clear unmet clinical need for a non-invasive, pain-free convenient method to test glucose levels,” Ms Kolivos said.

“With our Saliva Glucose Biosensor, we intend to replace painful and invasive finger pricking for people living with diabetes – so that people with diabetes can thrive, not just survive.”

About The iQ Group Global

The iQ Group Global is a bioscience investment enterprise that finds, funds and develops life science discoveries to create life-changing medical innovations. Recognised by The Australian Financial Review in the top five Most Innovative Healthcare Companies in 2019, The iQ Group Global’s flagship innovation is the Saliva Glucose Biosensor; the first non-invasive replacement for finger-prick blood glucose testing for diabetes management.

About The Saliva Glucose Biosensor

The Saliva Glucose Biosensor is the first non-invasive, saliva-based glucose test for diabetes management that measure glucose in saliva, not blood. Regulatory engagement has commenced with the FDA in the US as part of plans to launch the Saliva Glucose Biosensor in the North America region via member company BioSensX North America, and the Asia Pacific region via member company GBS Inc.

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