Main Organiser

Julius Centre University of Malaya

Co-organiser

Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Malay

Supported by

University of Malaya

HEALTH LITERACY, COMPLICATION AWARENESS AND DIABETIC CONTROL IN PATIENTS WITH TYPE 2 DIABETES MELLITUS IN A PRIMARY CARE CLINIC

Author

Robson N, Mohamad Shahrullail, Haizum Farha

Institution

University Malaya, Kuala Lumpur

Abstract

Objectives: Glycaemic control of diabetic patients is a public health concern in Malaysia. As such, there is increased interest on health literacy and complication awareness among diabetic patients. This paper aimed to examine the relationship between health literacy, complication awareness and diabetic control among type 2 diabetic patients.

Methods: This was a cross-sectional study involving 200 type 2 diabetic patients attending a primary care clinic. The survey data was collected via face to face interview using a structured questionnaire incorporating demographics; assessment of complication awareness in two sections: a self-developed 41-item patient awareness score and the Summary of Diabetes Self-Care Activities measure; and health literacy as measured by the Rapid Estimate of Adult Literacy in Medicine (REALM). Diabetic control was assessed by the most recent HbA1c level.

Results: The participants were mostly females (81%), Indians (48%), retirees (mean age 60.5 years old), educated up to secondary school (54%) and married. Most were on oral hypoglaemics (89%) and more than a third (35%) were on insulin. Health literacy and patient awareness scores were not significantly correlated to diabetic control, but exercise in the Summary of Diabetes Self-Care Activities measure and blood glucose testing were positively correlated to HbA1c. Those who exercised regularly and measured their blood glucose regularly by home blood glucose monitoring had better glycaemic control than those who did not exercise or measured blood glucose at home.

Conclusion: Diabetic educational strategies need to consider factors other than knowledge on complication awareness to improve control among diabetics.