Time, Technology, Social Support, and Cardiovascular Health of Emerging Adults With Type 1 Diabetes

Margaret McCarthy, Joeyee Yan, Mary Christine Jared, Jeniece Ilkowitz, Mary Pat Gallagher, Victoria Vaughan Dickson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Emerging adults with Type 1 diabetes (T1DM) face an increased risk of cardiovascular disease; however, there are both barriers and facilitators to achieving ideal cardiovascular health in this stage of their lives. OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was to qualitatively explore the barriers and facilitators of achieving ideal levels of cardiovascular health in a sample of emerging adults with T1DM ages 18-26 years. METHODS: A sequential mixed-methods design was used to explore achievement of ideal cardiovascular health using the seven factors defined by the American Heart Association (smoking status, body mass index, physical activity, healthy diet, total cholesterol, blood pressure, and hemoglobin A1C [substituted for fasting blood glucose]). We assessed the frequency of achieving ideal levels of each cardiovascular health factor. Using Pender's health promotion model as a framework, qualitative interviews explored the barriers and facilitators of achieving ideal levels of each factor of cardiovascular health. RESULTS: The sample was mostly female. Their age range was 18-26 years, with a diabetes duration between 1 and 20 years. The three factors that had the lowest achievement were a healthy diet, physical activity at recommended levels, and hemoglobin A1C of <7%. Participants described lack of time as a barrier to eating healthy, being physically active, and maintaining in-range blood glucose levels. Facilitators included the use of technology in helping to achieve in-range blood glucose and social support from family, friends, and healthcare providers in maintaining several healthy habits. DISCUSSION: These qualitative data provide insight into how emerging adults attempt to manage their T1DM and cardiovascular health. Healthcare providers have an important role in supporting these patients in establishing ideal cardiovascular health at an early age.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)185-192
Number of pages8
JournalNursing research
Volume72
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine

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