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Improving Diabetes Knowledge and Self-Care Practices

Cynthia Formosa Department of Podiatry, University of Malta, 14, Faculty of Health Sciences, Msida, Malta.

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Ryan Muscat Department of Podiatry, University of Malta, 14, Faculty of Health Sciences, Msida, Malta.

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Background:

This study sought to identify the nature and extent of diabetes-related knowledge and self-care practices in people living with type 2 diabetes who attend primary-care clinics and to determine whether a correlation between the two exists.

Methods:

In a nonexperimental prospective study, the Diabetes Knowledge Questionnaire and the Summary of Diabetes Self-care Activities were used to assess knowledge and self-management in 50 patients.

Results:

The mean diabetes knowledge score was 14.40 out of a total of 24 and the mean self-care activities score was 2.89 out of a total of 7, indicating a deficit in a number of key areas in the management of diabetes. There was no statistically significant correlation between diabetes knowledge score and diabetes self-care activities (r = 0.190, P = 0.187). On analysis of the individual subscales, a significant relationship resulted between diabetes knowledge score and diet (r = 0.324, P = 0.022) but physical activity (r = 0.179, P = 0.214), blood sugar testing (r = 0.231, P = 0.107) and footcare (r = 0.189, P = 0.189) gave no significant results. On further analysis, education level was significantly correlated to diabetes knowledge score (r = 0.374, P = 0.007) and self-care activities score (r = 0.317, P = 0.025) while age was significantly correlated to diabetes knowledge score (P = 0.008) and self-care activities score (P = 0.035).

Conclusions:

Integrating theories of behavior change into educational interventions at the primary-care level may translate to improved care, reduced long-term complications, and better quality of life.

Corresponding author: Cynthia Formosa, PhD, Department of Podiatry, University of Malta, 14, Faculty of Health Sciences, Msida, msd 2080, Malta. (E-mail: cynthia.formosa@um.edu.mt)