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Social networks and type 2 diabetes: a narrative review – published online 29/06/2021

Schram graphical abstract

Miranda T. Schram, Willem J. J. Assendelft, Theo G. van Tilburg, Nicole H. T. M. Dukers-Muijrers

Social networks are important determinants for well-being and general health in type 2 diabetes. In this issue, Schram et al ( review the state-of-the-art evidence on the role of social networks on type 2 diabetes risk, diabetes management and the risk for diabetes complications. Despite the heterogeneity of social networks and study designs, the authors reveal that valuable conclusions can be drawn from previous research. For example, living alone and lack of social support have been identified as risk factors for type 2 diabetes. In addition, a smaller network size and less social support increase the risk for diabetes complications, such as chronic kidney disease and CHD. Moreover, the authors highlight that some evidence was found that social support may have a beneficial effect on diabetes self-management. The authors conclude that these findings support the idea that engaging the social network in prevention and treatment strategies for type 2 diabetes may be helpful to improve their effectiveness. The figures from this review are available as a downloadable slideset.

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