Barriers to effective diabetes care revealed

March 20th, 2009 - 5:35 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, Mar 20 (ANI): Eating out in restaurants, laid back attitude towards exercise, and leading high-risk lifestyles are some of the barriers that stop patients with type 2 diabetes from controlling their condition, say researchers.

In the study involving 8,900 patients, the researchers from Hong Kong and Northern Ireland listed some of the psychosocial, socio-economic, physical, environmental and cultural factors that prove to be major barriers to effective diabetes care.

“Diabetes is a chronic condition and patients need to modify their lifestyle on a long-term basis to cope with it,” said Sandra Pun from the School of Nursing at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

“According to the World Health Organization, up to 380 million people worldwide will suffer from diabetes by 2025 so it is important to identify and tackle any barriers that prevent people from making those changes,” she added.

Eating out in restaurants was a frequently mentioned problem and being offered inappropriate food when visiting others stops diabetics from controlling their condition.

Attitudes toward exercise, physical limitations and discomfort prevented people from taking regular exercise. It is important to take these factors into account when devising exercise programmes.

Behavioural and psychiatric disorders and cultural and language barriers, among both patients and family members, also acts as a barriers to effective diabetes treatment.

Finance was another significant barrier in keeping a check on blood sugar levels. Even if healthcare was free or funded by insurance, patients still had to spend more money on healthy food, home glucose monitoring kits and transport to and from healthcare appointments.

With a lack of proper knowledge, patients fail to understand the relevance of diet and care plans.

Moreover, being unable to maintain good glucose control can cause helplessness and frustration, as can the progression of the disease.

However, patients who received support from family, friends and diabetes clinics appeared to handle self-care better than those who did not.

“Our review found that there are various barriers to achieving optimal self-care in type 2 diabetes” said co-author Professor Vivien Coates, from the Institute of Nursing Research at the University of Ulster, UK.

“Better healthcare delivery systems and reforms that improve affordability, accessibility and efficiency of care are also essential to help both providers and patients to meet desirable standards of diabetes care,” Coates added.

The study appears in the Journal of Nursing and Healthcare of Chronic Illness. (ANI)

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