Increased stress, weight gain and less exercise in relation to glycemic control in people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes during the COVID-19 pandemic.
BMJ open diabetes research & care. 2021;(1)
INTRODUCTION Lockdown measures have a profound effect on many aspects of daily life relevant for diabetes self-management. We assessed whether lockdown measures, in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, differentially affect perceived stress, body weight, exercise and related this to glycemic control in people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS We performed a short-term observational cohort study at the Leiden University Medical Center. People with type 1 and type 2 diabetes ≥18 years were eligible to participate. Participants filled out online questionnaires, sent in blood for hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) analysis and shared data of their flash or continuous glucose sensors. HbA1c during the lockdown was compared with the last known HbA1c before the lockdown. RESULTS In total, 435 people were included (type 1 diabetes n=280, type 2 diabetes n=155). An increase in perceived stress and anxiety, weight gain and less exercise was observed in both groups. There was improvement in glycemic control in the group with the highest HbA1c tertile (type 1 diabetes: -0.39% (-4.3 mmol/mol) (p<0.0001 and type 2 diabetes: -0.62% (-6.8 mmol/mol) (p=0.0036). Perceived stress was associated with difficulty with glycemic control (p<0.0001). CONCLUSIONS An increase in perceived stress and anxiety, weight gain and less exercise but no deterioration of glycemic control occurs in both people with relatively well-controlled type 1 and type 2 diabetes during short-term lockdown measures. As perceived stress showed to be associated with glycemic control, this provides opportunities for healthcare professionals to put more emphasis on psychological aspects during diabetes care consultations.