Some Surprising Reasons Why Diabetics Find it Difficult to Manage their Disease

    • January 2, 2003

In 2000, Pamela J. Blake, an independent consultant specializing in qualitative research, conducted 13 focus groups with diabetes patients to better understand barriers to the capacity of such patients to manage their health and health care.

Key Findings

  • Most were aware of the dangers of diabetes and were knowledgeable about key areas they should address in managing their diabetes, but this knowledge did not always translate into practice.
  • Most recognized the importance of exercise, but the majority did not exercise regularly.
  • Most acknowledged the importance of seeing a physician regularly, yet many reported they experienced barriers to seeing physicians with the recommended frequency.
  • Some African-American respondents from urban areas perceived that the quality of care they received was inferior to the care received by whites, and believed that African-Americans are more likely to receive a diagnosis of diabetes only after their disease had already progressed.
  • Most of the Hispanic respondents were satisfied with the care they received from their physicians.
  • Native American respondents criticized the Indian Health Service clinic, especially regarding the quality of interactions and turnover of physicians, long waits and lack of integration of traditional healing practices or the spiritual component of health.
  • Some Asian-American respondents employed traditional herbs to manage their diabetes and were unwilling to reveal this practice to their physicians.
  • Many found compliance with guidelines easier when they had family members or other caregivers to help.