Home Medizin Studie zeigt Bereiche auf, in denen Diabetiker mehr Aufklärung benötigen

Studie zeigt Bereiche auf, in denen Diabetiker mehr Aufklärung benötigen

von NFI Redaktion

Insufficient insulin production or utilization by the body often leads to Type 2 Diabetes (T2D), a chronic disease affecting millions of people worldwide. Proper disease management is crucial to avoid long-term negative consequences such as limb amputation or heart disease. To mitigate undesirable outcomes, it is vital for patients to have a good understanding of managing the disease daily.

A research team in Portugal has now identified the level of crucial knowledge about Type-2 Diabetes among patients, both those treated with insulin and those not. They published their findings in Frontiers in Public Health.

„Our main motivation was to contribute to reducing the existing inequality in diabetic patients‘ knowledge about their disease,“ said lead author Prof. Pedro Lopes Ferreira, Director of the Center for Health Studies and Research at the University of Coimbra. „With this study, we have demonstrated the need to enhance the disease knowledge of Type-2 Diabetics.“

Varying Levels of Knowledge

To assess diabetes knowledge, the researchers used a knowledge test designed for individuals with Type-1 or Type-2 Diabetes. The test included sections on nutrition, signs and symptoms, and medication control. The study involved 1,200 people with diabetes, of which nearly 40% were treated with insulin. The remaining sample followed specific diets, with some also taking oral antidiabetic medications without insulin, while others relied solely on diet.

Results showed that many participants (71.3%) answered nutrition-related questions correctly, and over four-fifths demonstrated good knowledge of the benefits of physical activity. More than 75% knew the best method for measuring blood sugar levels.

However, in other areas, the researchers found knowledge gaps. For instance, only 12.8% of participants correctly answered a question about which food should not be used to treat low blood sugar levels. The lowest percentage (4.4%) of correct answers related to a question about the symptoms of ketoacidosis, a potentially life-threatening T2D complication in the advanced stage.

„One of the main reasons for these knowledge discrepancies is likely the behavior of healthcare professionals and the areas prioritized in patient education.“

Pedro Lopes Ferreira, Director, Center for Health Studies and Research, University of Coimbra

Equipping Patients with Knowledge

The researchers found that medication use was a factor affecting T2D knowledge. The percentage of correct answers was 51.8% in non-insulin-treated patients and 58.7% in patients receiving insulin. Factors such as being younger than 65, higher education, living with others, and adhering to a specific diet positively influenced disease knowledge.

The researchers emphasized the need to enhance T2D knowledge on specific disease aspects, such as blood sugar monitoring, which can help prevent blood sugar spikes associated with acute and chronic complications. They also highlighted the urgent need to address knowledge gaps within individual test sections.

They also mentioned that studies with even more participants could help better understand the role of socioeconomic and clinical determinants of the disease. „We focused on patients‘ own knowledge of their disease and not solely on disease management based on biological indicators. We hope the results obtained will enable professionals to change the way they inform patients,“ concluded Lopes Ferreira.


Journal Reference:

Ferreira, EL, et al. (2024) Many Type 2 Diabetes Patients Lack Potentially Life-Saving Knowledge About Their Disease. Frontiers in Public Health. doi.org/10.3389/fpubh.2024.1328001.

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