Original Research

Continuous glucose monitoring empowers adolescents to take responsibility of diabetes management

Letitia Williams, Elmarí Deacon, Esmé Van Rensburg, David Segal
African Journal of Primary Health Care & Family Medicine | Vol 15, No 1 | a3879 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/phcfm.v15i1.3879 | © 2023 Letitia Williams, Elmarí Deacon, Esmé Van Rensburg, David Segal | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 18 October 2022 | Published: 12 April 2023

About the author(s)

Letitia Williams, Compres Research Focus Area, Faculty of Health Science, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa
Elmarí Deacon, Optentia Research Unit, Faculty of Health Science, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa
Esmé Van Rensburg, Compres Research Focus Area, Faculty of Health Science, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa
David Segal, Optentia Research Unit, Faculty of Health Science, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa

Abstract

Background: Managing diabetes is especially challenging for adolescents, and they often struggle to believe they can manage the condition. Illness perception has been widely associated with better diabetes management outcomes, but the influence of continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) on adolescents has been largely neglected.

Aim: The study aimed to explore the illness perception of a group of adolescents living with type 1 diabetes (T1D) using CGM.

Setting: The study was conducted at a medical centre that provides diabetes care services to youth living with T1D in Parktown, South Africa.

Methods: A qualitative research approach using semi-structured online interviews was used to gather data that was thematically analysed.

Results: Themes emerging from the data confirmed that CGM creates a sense of control over diabetes management as blood glucose measures were more visible. A sense of normalcy was established as CGM influences a new routine and a way of life, integrating diabetes into a young person’s identity. Despite the users’ awareness of being different due to diabetes management, CGM assisted in creating a sense of belonging, contributing to developing a better quality of life.

Conclusion: Findings of this study support the use of CGM as a means of empowering adolescents struggling with diabetes management to achieve better treatment outcomes. The important role of illness perception in facilitating this change was also evident.

Contribution: By listening to the adolescent’s voice, CGM was identified as a possible intervention to empower adolescents to improve diabetes management.


Keywords

adolescents; continuous glucose monitoring (CGM); empowerment; illness perception; diabetes management.

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 3: Good health and well-being

Metrics

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Crossref Citations

1. Smile with diabetes: reflections on illness perception and diabetes management behaviors of adolescents in private health care in South Africa
Elmari Deacon
Frontiers in Clinical Diabetes and Healthcare  vol: 4  year: 2023  
doi: 10.3389/fcdhc.2023.1097441