A survey of people with diabetes in northern New South Wales: Problems with self-care

Authors

  • Ruth Lo RN OpRmNursCert ATCL AMusA BA MSc,

    Corresponding author
    1. PhD student, Faculty of Health Sciences, Southern Cross University, Lismore, New South Wales, Australia
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  • Doug MacLean BA DipEd DipSocSc MA PhD ACIS ACIM

    1. Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Health Sciences, Southern Cross University, Lismore, New South Wales, Australia
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Ruth Lo, Faculty of Health Sciences, Southern Cross University, Lismore, NSW 2480, Australia.

Abstract

People with diabetes mellitus (DM) completed a questionnaire (n= 255) which surveyed the management of their disease and its complications. The questionnaire sought information on: (i) frequency of testing blood and urine; (ii) management of diet and weight control; and (iii) the incidence of smoking and alcohol consumption among people with diabetes. The aims of the study included the identification of the prevalence of coronary heart disease (CHD) among people with diabetes in the northern rivers region of New South Wales; to investigate the problems encountered by people with diabetes in the management of their disease and whether or not there were differences as a function of age and gender. Results indicated that females visited their dietitians more recently and consumed less alcohol than males. Males exercised a great deal more, both in frequency and duration than females. Older respondents tested their blood and urine less frequently, and had less difficulty adhering with diet requirements than younger respondents. Younger respondents expressed greater difficulty in living appropriately with their condition and reducing alcohol consumption. Differences between patients with DM and those with added heart complications indicated that the amount of alcohol consumed was higher and exercise was more likely to be prescribed by medical practitioners for those with CHD. They also found it more difficult to exercise regularly. The role of the health professionals in facilitating self-care is discussed in the light of these findings.

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