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Diabetes in the shadow of daily life: factors that make diabetes a marginal problem

Journal article
Authors Anders Ågård
Vania Ranjbar
Susann Strang
Published in Practical Diabetes
Volume 33
Issue 2
Pages 49-53
ISSN 2047-2897
Publication year 2016
Published at Institute of Medicine
Institute of Health and Care Sciences
Pages 49-53
Language en
Keywords diabetes mellitus, patient compliance, health behaviour, cultural diversity, qualitative research, adherence, perceptions, medication, therapy, Endocrinology & Metabolism
Subject categories Endocrinology and Diabetes


The primary aim of this qualitative study, which was based on interviews with 24 patients with diabetes mellitus, was to identify factors that influence patients' willingness and ability to adhere to prescribed medicines, to recommend lifestyle choices and to acquire a deeper understanding of the way these factors influence adherence. The starting point for the study was our belief that it may be of pivotal importance for health professionals to address patients' life experiences, present life situations and cultural background, as well as their conceptions and attitudes, in order to understand why some patients have or may encounter difficulty in following treatment recommendations and realising treatment goals. Four main themes related to the primary research questions were identified. Patients with diabetes may regard diabetes as a lifelong follower but not a real problem: a trifle in relation to the daily struggle with difficulties; something out of one's control; something not worth giving up the good things in life for. In our opinion, the main result of this study is that patients may view diabetes as a marginal problem in relation to other burdens and troubles in life, such as other somatic diseases and symptoms, mental illnesses due to previous traumatic experiences, concerns for loved ones and economy. We argue that the desired goals in terms of adherence and outcomes for patients with diabetes in general need to be adapted to what is desirable and realistic for the individual patient. Copyright (C) 2016 John Wiley & Sons.

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