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Millennials with type 2 diabetes more likely to face difficulties with social interactions

August 21, 2018

"Always Connected" Generation -- and Largest in U.S. -- Worry More about Being Judged for Having Disease, Sometimes Avoid Seeing Healthcare Provider

SAN FRANCISCO, August 21, 2018 -- Millennials with type 2 diabetes (T2D) experience difficulties with social interactions at more than double the rate of Gen Xers and at three times the rate of baby boomers. The difficulties reported stem from their condition and include challenges with dating and intimate relationships, friendships, and making new friends, as well as in their career. Nearly half of millennials and about a third of Gen Xers reported hiding their condition out of worry about what others think. Likewise, feelings of guilt, embarrassment, and anxiety are more frequently experienced by millennials and Gen Xers than older adults. These and other findings were revealed in a new report from Healthline Media, the fastest growing health information brand, reaching 47 million monthly users in the United States.

The report, "State of Type 2 Diabetes," examines the current population of people living with T2D across generations and gender, investigates the emotional challenges of the condition, and explores their most pressing concerns, day-to-day experiences, and feelings. The report included a survey of more than 1,500 people with T2D and in-depth interviews with medical experts, advocacy groups, and patients themselves. The full report can be accessed at

"It is so critical to address the psychological and social aspects of living with diabetes, which have at least as big an impact on health outcomes as medications and blood glucose monitoring," said Amy Tenderich, editorial director, Diabetes & Patient Advocacy at Healthline and founder of DiabetesMine. "As does Healthline the company, the State of Type 2 Diabetes report aims to provide useful, actionable information for consumers, and to help its partners better understand the authentic health experience and tap into engaged patient communities."

According to Healthline's report, a sliding scale of feelings and experiences exists between different age groups. Most baby boomers reported positive outlooks on their efforts to manage T2D, their interactions with others, and their sense of self. In comparison, more than half of millennials, and more than 40 percent of Gen Xers, report feeling ashamed about their bodies on a daily or weekly basis. Only 18 percent of baby boomers feel similarly. A sense of shame or stigma can even affect younger adults' healthcare decisions. Close to half of millennials and nearly a third of Gen Xers reported feeling judged by healthcare providers for how they manage T2D. About the same proportion said they've delayed seeing a healthcare provider because they fear such judgments.

More than 40 percent of millennials said they sometimes don't follow through with recommended treatments because of cost. Nearly a third reported having little to no health insurance coverage. Many of those who have insurance said they're left with big bills. Being able to afford their treatment costs in the future is a worry to many among all age groups with 40 percent across generations sharing that concern.

Key Findings (of All Respondents):

  • Over half (52%) feel that online research has empowered them to make more informed treatment decisions.
  • Less than half (47%) trust online information about type 2 diabetes.
  • Nearly one-quarter (21%) say that online research caused more fear and anxiety and more than one-third (36%) say that it helped them cope with fear and anxiety.
  • More than three-quarters (76%) of patients feel that their healthcare provider (HCP) is key in helping them manage type 2 diabetes.
  • 40% feel their HCP could provide better support with lifestyle issues, whereas 50% feel their HCP could provide better support with emotional challenges.
  • Almost two-thirds have never seen an endocrinologist (64%) or a certified diabetes educator (63%).
Healthline's "State of..." series examines consumer lifestyle data gathered by the website's research team. "State of..." research results are paired with editorial content illustrating topics from the consumer's perspective, highlighting credible, expert-informed insights to inform health decisions. The "State of..." series kicked off in July 2017 with the "State of Fertility," followed by the "State of Care" and "State of Cancer." In the first half of this year, the series addressed the "State of Caregiving for Alzheimer's Disease and Related Dementia 2018." The "State of Type 2 Diabetes" adds to the growing body of research in key disease states affecting Healthline's readers -- the modern healthcare consumer and their caregivers. Additional studies in this series will continue this year, examining other key disease states affecting Healthline's readers.

About Healthline's State of Type 2 Diabetes Survey

Healthline conducted a survey of over 1,500 people living with type 2 diabetes representing millennials, Gen Xers, and baby boomers, and interviewed a dynamic group of medical experts, patients, and advocacy groups to best understand the day-to-day experiences and feelings of the people who live with a condition that never gives them a day off. The objective of the survey was to identify the resources and tools used by type 2 diabetes patients and gauge their attitudes and the impact the condition has had on their health, career, interpersonal relationships, and finances. Respondents were screened to confirm U.S. residency, age 18+, and a diagnosis of T2D made by a doctor or other healthcare provider. The survey fielded between June 8 and June 18, 2018.

About Healthline

As the fastest growing consumer health information site -- with 47 million monthly visitors in the U.S. (comScore, July 2018) -- Healthline's mission is to be our users' most trusted ally in their pursuit of health and well-being. Healthline provides socially inspired, medically reviewed, and data-driven content to help us all live stronger, healthier lives. Healthline's flagship website takes a whole-person approach to health and wellness information to support the modern health consumer.

Media Contact: Ingrid Eberly
Office: (917)720-4386

Source: Healthline Media's State of Type 2 Diabetes Survey -- Healthline Media commissioned to manage programming and data hosting related to the survey. The sample was sourced from Survey Sampling International and a total of N=1570 respondents met the eligibility requirements and completed the survey. The survey fielded between June 8 and June 18, 2018.

Healthline Media

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