Change in self-rated general health is associated with perceived illness burden: A 1-year follow up of patients newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes

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Background: iabetic patients’ lifestyle adaptations to improve glycaemic control are not always followed by improvements in self-rated general health (SRH). The perceived impact of diabetes on patients’ daily lives may influence changes in their SRH. This paper examines the association of illness severity, treatment, behavioural, and coping-related factors with changes in SRH from diagnosis of type 2 diabetes until one year later, in a population-based sample of 599 patients aged 40 years or over who were treated in general practice.

Methods: Change in SRH was estimated by a cumulative probit model with the inclusion of covariates related to SRH (e.g. illness severity at diagnosis, behaviour, treatment, and the perceived impact of diabetes on patients’ daily lives one year later).

Results: At diagnosis, 11.6% of patients reported very good, 35.1% good, 44.6% fair and 8.5% poor SRH. Physical inactivity, many diabetes-related symptoms, and cardiovascular disease were related to lower SRH ratings. On average SRH improved by 0.46 (95% CI: 0.37; 0.55) during the first year after diagnosis without inclusion of covariates. Mental and practical illness burden was the only factor associated with change in SRH, independent of patients’ diabetes severity and medical treatment (p = 0.03, multivariate analysis). Compared to otherwise similar patients without illness burden, increase in SRH was marginally smaller among patients who expressed minor illness burden, but much smaller among patients with more pronounced illness burden.

Conclusions: Much as one would expect, many patients increased their SRH during the first year after diabetes diagnosis. This increase in SRH was not associated with indicators of illness severity or factors reflecting socio-demographic circumstances, but patients experiencing illness burden had a smaller increase than those who reported no illness burden. We suggest that during the diabetes consultation, general practitioners explore further how patients manage their illness burden. We further suggest that diabetes guidelines extend their current focus on clinical and social aspects of diabetes to include questions on patient’s perceived illness burden and SRH.
Original languageEnglish
JournalB M C Public Health
Issue number439
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 30 Apr 2015

ID: 136933580