"Undereducation" of Patients Can Lead to Poor Disease Management
Teaching people with type 2 diabetes how to manage the daily aspects of their condition is an essential part of a diabetes treatment plan for positive health outcomes. The health care community has its work cut out for it: diabetes is a serious public health problem that is reaching epidemic proportions. It is so prevalent that the US Department of Health and Human Services initiated Diabetes: A National Plan for Action in 2004 to increase national awareness of diabetes and promote improved treatment of diabetes.
Complex daily requirements
Learning the techniques of diabetes self-management and having patients incorporate them into a consistent lifestyle are 2 key challenges for primary care physicians, diabetes educators, and other health care providers.
The fact that type 2 diabetes is a complex, all-encompassing disease requiring continual awareness and attention can be physically and psychologically demanding for patients, thus enhancing the need for patient education and psychological support. Added to that burden is the reality that some people with the condition face socioeconomic and cultural barriers to preventive and diabetes management care. These include poverty, lack of access to health care, and attitudes that discourage education.
Self-motivated patients are the key to self-care
Studies have shown the value of active, involved patients in the self-management of their conditions. Patients who play a pivotal role in the doctor-patient relationship—being informed, coming prepared, knowing relevant medical information—are more likely to follow their health care providers’ treatment regimen.
- National Center for Health Statistics. Prevalence of diagnosed diabetes by age, United States, 1980–2005. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Web site. www.cdc.gov/diabetes/statistics/prev/national/figbyage.htm. Updated: March 26, 2007. Accessed November 5, 2007.