March 20, 2009

Restaurants, money hurt diabetes control

Eating out, lack of social support and high-risk lifestyles are barriers to good type 2 diabetes control, researchers in Hong Kong and Northern Ireland said.

A review of some 8,900 insured patients and 4,550 healthcare providers in 28 countries was conducted by researchers from Hong Kong and Northern Ireland.

The study, published in the March issue of the Journal of Nursing and Healthcare of Chronic Illness, shows that psychosocial, socioeconomic, physical, environmental and cultural factors can provide major barriers to effective care.

Diabetes is a chronic condition and patients need to modify their lifestyle on a long-term basis to cope with it, Sandra Pun of the School of Nursing at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University said in a statement.

Major barriers identified by the review included:

-- Financial. Even if healthcare was free or funded by insurance, patients still had to spend more money on healthy food, home glucose monitoring kits and transport to and from healthcare appointments.

-- Social support. Patients who received support from family, friends and diabetes clinics appeared to handle self-care better than those who did not.

-- Eating out in restaurants and being denied favorite food were frequently mentioned problem.

-- Exercise. Attitudes toward exercise, physical limitations and discomfort prevented people from taking regular exercise.

-- High-risk lifestyles. Behavioral and psychiatric disorders and cultural and language barriers, among both patients and family members.

-- Some patients forgot to take their medication and others ran out.