Patients with diabetes who have chronic pain may experiencemore difficulty in managing their disease and with self-care activities.For the study, the researchers evaluated chronic pain'seffects on diabetes self-management in 993 patients receivingcare through the Department of Veteran Affairs. The currentstudy defined chronic pain as the presence of pain most of thetime for at least 6 months during the past year.
Using information from participant surveys, the researchersfound that about 60% of the participants reported having chronicpain. Specifically, these participants tended to be youngerthan those without chronic pain, female, using insulin, and overweight.The researchers also discovered a significant associationbetween chronic pain and poorer overall diabetes control.The participants with chronic pain had more trouble followingrecommended exercise and eating plans.
Reporting in Diabetes Care (January 2005), the researchersconcluded that "chronic pain may be a major limiting factor in theperformance of certain self-care behaviors and thereby reinforcesthe need to proactively address such potential competingdemands"for individuals with diabetes.