Knowledge Gaps In Type 2 Diabetes Management Among Patients: Study

A group of scientists in Portugal recently conducted a study to determine the number of patients, including those who receive insulin treatment and those who do not, who possess essential knowledge about Type 2 Diabetes (T2D). The results of their research were published in the journal Frontiers in Public Health.
Study Reveals Knowledge Gaps In Type 2 Diabetes Management Among Patients
Study Reveals Knowledge Gaps In Type 2 Diabetes Management Among PatientsREPRESENTATIVE

Type 2 diabetes (T2D) is a long-term condition that affects a large number of individuals globally. It is typically caused by the body's inability to produce sufficient insulin or use it effectively.

Proper management of a disease is crucial in order to prevent serious consequences such as amputations or heart issues in the long run. In order to avoid unfavorable results, it is essential for patients to have a clear understanding of how to effectively manage their illness on a daily basis.

A group of scientists in Portugal recently conducted a study to determine the number of patients, including those who receive insulin treatment and those who do not, who possess essential knowledge about Type 2 Diabetes (T2D). The results of their research were published in the journal Frontiers in Public Health.

"Our main motivation was to contribute to the reduction of the existing disparity in the knowledge that diabetic patients have regarding their disease," said first author Prof Pedro Lopes Ferreira, director of the Center for Health Studies and Research of the University of Coimbra. "With this study, we evidenced the need to improve the disease knowledge of type 2 diabetic patients."

To evaluate the level of understanding about diabetes, the scientists employed a knowledge assessment that was specifically designed for individuals with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes. The test covered various topics, such as nutrition, identifying signs and symptoms, and managing medication. A total of 1,200 individuals with diabetes took part in the research, with nearly 40 percent of them receiving insulin treatment. The remaining participants followed specific dietary plans, with some also taking non-insulin oral antidiabetic medications, while others relied solely on diet control.

The findings indicated that a significant number of participants, 71.3 per cent possessed the ability to accurately respond to food-related inquiries, while over 80 per cent of respondents displayed a commendable understanding of the beneficial effects of engaging in physical activity. Additionally, more than 75 per cent of participants were knowledgeable about the most effective approach to test blood sugar levels.

However, the researchers discovered a significant lack of knowledge in certain areas. For instance, when participants were asked about the food item that should not be used to address low blood sugar levels, only 12.8 per cent answered correctly. The question with the lowest percentage of correct responses, 4.4 per cent was related to the symptoms of ketoacidosis, a serious complication of late-stage T2D that can be life-threatening.

"One of the main reasons for this disparity in knowledge is probably the behavior of health professionals and the areas that are prioritized when informing patients," Lopes Ferreira explained.

The study revealed that the utilization of medication was a contributing factor in influencing knowledge about Type 2 Diabetes (T2D). The accuracy rate for answering questions correctly was 51.8% for patients not receiving insulin treatment, while it was 58.7% for patients using insulin. When considering socioeconomic and demographic factors, being below the age of 65, having a higher level of education, not living alone, and adhering to a specific diet were all found to have a beneficial effect on understanding the disease.

The researchers emphasized the importance of enhancing knowledge about specific aspects of T2D, such as blood sugar monitoring, to prevent sudden increases in blood sugar levels that can lead to both short-term and long-term complications. They also highlighted the urgent need to address knowledge gaps within different sections of the test.

Additionally, they mentioned that conducting studies with a larger number of participants could provide a deeper understanding of how socioeconomic and clinical factors contribute to the disease. Instead of solely relying on biological indicators, the researchers emphasized the importance of considering patients' own understanding of their condition in disease management. Lopes Ferreira concluded by expressing the hope that the findings would prompt healthcare professionals to alter their approach in informing patients.

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