Men and women with type 2 diabetes see the impact of the disease on their lives differently, according to a survey by Rite Aid and online health information portal WebMD.

Rite Aid, WebMD, type 2 diabetes, diabetes, survey, diabetes management, Robert Thompson, pharmacy, drug chain, diabetes management resources, Rite Aid pharmacists, wellness+ for diabetes, Diabetes head2toe, Carolyn Daitch

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Rite Aid-WebMD poll gives new look at diabetes patients

November 10th, 2011

CAMP HILL, Pa. – Men and women with type 2 diabetes see the impact of the disease on their lives differently, according to a survey by Rite Aid and online health information portal WebMD.

Rite Aid said Thursday that the poll of WebMD users — conducted as part of a collaboration between Rite Aid and WebMD — showed that women, more often than men, reported that diabetes had a greater negative impact on their emotional outlook and their compliance with diet and exercise recommendations. Women also were more open than men to receiving tools to help them manage their diabetes.

Half of the women who reported being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes said they feel overwhelmed when it comes to living with diabetes, whereas 31% of men reported similar feelings. And 53% of women admitted to feeling in control of their diabetes versus 68% of men.

Women with diabetes also said they were less likely to maintain healthy lifestyle behaviors. The survey found that 36% of women said they exercise 30 minutes or more daily, compared with 47% of men indicating they do so. Women also were less likely to say they eat well, as 45% said they avoid sweet and salty snacks compared with 56% of men.

Meanwhile, the poll revealed that women with diabetes — particularly those ages 45 to 64 — are enthusiastic about getting tools to help them better control diabetes. The tools they identified as preferred were diabetic-friendly recipes and tips for eating right, e-mail newsletters and savings on diabetes-related products, as well as videos and articles about diet, exercise and symptoms.

Rite Aid said the survey results also showed that diabetes management doesn't get easier over time for men or women. Though women reported the most difficulty in sustaining positive lifestyle behaviors and staying optimistic in the period five to 10 years after diagnosis, men indicated the greatest reported negative emotional and psychological impact 10 years or more after diagnosis.

Robert Thompson, executive vice president of pharmacy at Rite Aid, noted that the survey of WebMD visitors with diabetes gives the drug chain some key information to help it better understand and meet the needs of the 26 million Americans living with diabetes, including many of its customers. To that end, Rite Aid offers counseling from pharmacists and other free diabetes management resources.

"It's no secret that living with diabetes isn't always easy and that, at times, it can be overwhelming," Thompson said in a statement. "It's important to us that our customers know they are not alone. Rite Aid pharmacists have long been dedicated to caring for our customers living with diabetes. Our wellness+ for diabetes program and WebMD's Diabetes head2toe are just the latest resources we offer to help them live well with diabetes. We're glad to see that the survey findings further validate our approach."

Launched in September, wellness+ for diabetes provides exclusive 24x7 access to a special Rite Aid-sponsored section of WebMD's Diabetes head2toe online lifestyle management tools. That includes a personal diabetes work plan with a daily glucose tracker, a weekly workout log, recipes and meal planning tips, and monthly lifestyle summary reports. Diabetes head2toe also offers health and wellness information about living with diabetes plus stories of people who live healthy, balanced lives with diabetes. Members of wellness+ for diabetes, too, get access online or by phone to specially trained Rite Aid pharmacists who can answer diabetes medication questions, and they can earn special savings on the purchase of diabetes-related products.

"The survey results make sense when you consider that women play multiple roles — employee, homemaker and caretaker, often for both children and parents," stated Dr. Carolyn Daitch, director of the Center for the Treatment of Anxiety Disorders in Farmington Hills, Mich., and a psychologist with 30 years of experience in treating anxiety in patients with chronic medical conditions such as diabetes. "Having ready access to a resource such as a pharmacist who can provide guidance and tools for self-care and practical, easy-to-implement recommendations for a healthy lifestyle can be very valuable in helping to manage diabetes."