Peter, M, Rioles, N, Liu, J, Chapman, K, Wolf, W, Nguyen, H, Basina, M, Akturk, H.K, Ebekozien, O, Perez, M, Poon, J, Mitchell, B.


Introduction Fear of hypoglycemia (FoH) affects quality of life, emotional well-being, and diabetes management among people with type 1 diabetes (PwT1D). American Diabetes Association’s (ADA) guidelines recommend assessing FoH in clinical practice. However, existing FoH measures are commonly used in research and not in clinical practice. In this study, prevalence of FoH was assessed in PwT1D using a newly developed FoH screener for clinical practice; its association with established measures and outcomes was also determined. In addition, healthcare providers’ (HCPs) perspectives on implementing FoH screener into real-world practice were explored.

Research design and methods This multiphase observational study used mixed methods in two phases. First, we collected a cross-sectional survey (including the screener) from PwT1D (≥18 years) from T1D Exchange Quality Improvement Collaborative adult clinics. Pearson correlations and regression analyses were performed on diabetes outcome measures using screener scores. Second, we conducted focus groups among HCPs who treat PwT1D and descriptive analysis to summarize results.

Results We included 553 PwT1D. Participants had a mean±SD age of 38.9±14.2 years and 30% reported a high FoH total score. Regression analyses showed that higher A1c and higher number of comorbidities were significantly associated with high FoH (p<0.001). High FoH worry and behavior scores were significantly associated with 8-Item Patient Health Questionnaire and 7-Item Generalized Anxiety Disorder Scale scores. Participants with ≥1 severe hypoglycemia event(s) and impaired awareness of hypoglycemia had higher odds of high FoH. Eleven HCPs participated in focus group interviews; they expressed that the FoH screener is clinically necessary and relevant but poses implementation challenges that must be addressed.

Conclusions Our results demonstrate FoH is common in PwT1D and affects their psychosocial well-being and diabetes management. In alignment with ADA position statement, HCP focus group results emphasize importance of screening for FoH. Implementing this newly developed FoH screener may help HCPs identify FoH in PwT1D.

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