Compassion and understanding can make all the difference in coping with a tough situation. The same is true when it comes to your health. For people with conditions like diabetes, an empathetic doctor — someone who is caring and sensitive to what you're experiencing—not only eases your mind but can actually improve your health outcome.

How Doctors Score on Empathy

In a recent study from Thomas Jefferson University, researchers analyzed hemoglobin and LDL-C tests for nearly 900 diabetic patients treated by 29 family physicians. Based on their tests, patients were categorized as having either good or poor blood glucose control.

Results showed that patients with the best glucose control were more likely to have been treated by doctors who scored high on the Jefferson Scale of Empathy. Patients whose doctors scored lower on this scale were less likely to have good control of their hemoglobin and LDL-C levels.

Improving Diabetes Outcomes

Having close family and friends to listen and help you cope with your health situation are essential. And, as this study shows, so is a doctor who cares about your condition and builds a relationship that you can depend on for both medical expertise and understanding.