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Year : 2017  |  Volume : 5  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 71-76

The barriers and challenges toward addressing the social and cultural factors influencing diabetes self-management in Indian populations

Department of Community Medicine, Maulana Azad Medical College, New Delhi, India

Correspondence Address:
Saurav Basu
Department of Community Medicine, Maulana Azad Medical College, New Delhi
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/joshd.J_Soc_Health_Diabetes_3_17

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Patient adherence to recommended diabetes self-care practices reduces the risk of diabetic complications. However, most clinic-based approaches have proved inadequate in maintaining optimal diabetic self-management and the prevention of undesirable health outcomes at the population level among disadvantaged populations. Several sociocultural factors influence patient adherence to diabetic self-care practices which should be recognized and addressed by the health-care provider, especially in lower socioeconomic status and women patients. The lack of physician empathy and tendency to assign blame upon diabetic patients for the failure of adherence without recognizing the complex sociocultural factors influencing patient behavior can undermine the possibilities for better management. The enlistment of familial support when available is valuable for improving medical adherence and health outcomes in vulnerable diabetic patients with low health literacy. Young unmarried women with diabetes are particularly at risk of diabetes stigma eroding familial support and marital prospects require need effective health communication along with their family. Moreover, women with diabetes have a greater likelihood of compromising their dietary needs for the sake of their familial dietary preferences. The inability of patients to comply with recommended exercise regimen may be derived from environmental factors; primarily unsafe neighborhoods, lack of availability of nearby recreational facilities such as public parks, and cultural resistance in patriarchal social environments. Policy approaches for improving diabetes management in disadvantaged diabetic populations should consider mandatory registration, assured diabetic medication, and follow-up in case of missed appointments. Community mobilization for overcoming societal stigma against women with diabetes also persists as a formidable challenge.

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