In 2015 it was surmised that the “peak age group of diagnosis” (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2017) for type 1 diabetics rested between ten and nineteen years of age. Type 1 diabetes (also referred to as juvenile diabetes) accounts for 10% of all diabetic diagnoses (Diabetes Australia, 2015) and is accepted as one of the most prevalent chronic conditions that results from an abnormal immune response; one that ultimately leaves production of insulin by the pancreas in a defect.
When reading these statistics, a reality that struck me was that the age group of peak diagnoses was majority teenagers – meaning that a definite amount of these individuals would be attaining a higher-level education of some sort. Having been diagnosed myself at seven years of age and now studying at UOW, I was interested in researching the interconnection between type 1 diabetic management and academia. Even more so, how the stresses concerned with undertaking a university education can exert influence on glycemic control and visa-versa.
Having been a type 1 diabetic for over twelve years, I can confidently say that acknowledging the different factors that affect blood glucose levels (BGLs) will improve overall management. The more experience I have had with this condition, the more confidence I have gained with my control. By researching the effect that stress has on type 1 diabetics, I hope to not only bring to light an issue that all patients deal with, but to also see possible methods of how to deal with it.
In terms of collecting research for this project, I am aiming to obtain quantitative data in response to questions that will be directed at stress related BGL results and the actions that these individuals undertake towards them. I also hope to incorporate qualitative data to help describe the emotions and thoughts that individuals have to give a better personal insight into this condition. At the moment either conducting individual interviews or having a focus group will accomplish this.
An important consideration to take note of while completing this research will be ethical mindfulness when dealing with personal health. It will be essential to be aware of individual input and to make sure that clear communication is disclosed to participants to ensure they comprehend the information that is going to be used. This will ultimately make the data collection process very lucid for participants to make them feel at ease and comfortable with the responses and opinions they relay.
While researching this project, I am ultimately hoping to connect with other people through their own experiences with type 1 diabetes and their own tertiary study. Studying with a chronic illness is not by any means impossible, but it certainly does come with extra considerations to remember in order to master good glycemic control.
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2017, How many Australians have diabetes? viewed 10th March 2017 <http://www.aihw.gov.au/how-common-is-diabetes/#t3>
Diabetes Australia, 2015, Diabetes in Australia, viewed 8th March 2017 <https://www.diabetesaustralia.com.au/diabetes-in-australia>