Saturday, August 1, 2009

Myths about Diabetes and its treatment in a North Indian Population

Background : Myths prevailing about diabetes in the society have become a major hurdle for its proper treatment and control. Aim : To find out about various myths related to diabetes and its treatment in the population. Materials and Methods : A cross sectional study was carried out in a teaching hospital of Delhi in 2008. 124 diabetic patients attending the regular diabetic clinic, 78 people who accompanied these patients and 214 non-diabetic people were included in the study. A pre-tested interview schedule with 48 questions was used to get information about sociodemographic characteristics and myths about diabetes. Data was analyzed by Epi info software version 3.2. Results : The most common myth in the population (22%) was that eating more sugar causes diabetes. Others were: diabetes can only occur in old age, soaking feet in water can help control blood sugar, diabetes is a result of past sins and is cured by spiritual treatment. Myths were significantly more common in females, non-diabetics, less educated group. There was a slightly higher prevalence of myths in Muslim population. 12.1% of diabetics were taking herbal medicines. 15.9% of the diabetics and 26% of non diabetics were unaware that complications could occur if diabetes was uncontrolled. 18.5% of diabetics and 30.1% of non-diabetics were unaware about role of diet and lifestyle measures in control of diabetes. Conclusions : The prevalence of myths about diabetes is high in North Indian population which could be associated with poor early health seeking behavior and poor compliance with treatment.

Author: Mridula Rai, Jugal Kishore. Myths about Diabetes and its treatment in a north Indian Population. International J Diabetes in Developing Countries 2009;29 (3): 129-132