Looking on the bright side of a diabetes diagnosis

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Background One in four adults over the age of 25 years are living with diabetes or what is known as pre-diabetes, and in 2016 diabetes was the seventh leading cause of death in Australia. It is therefore, no surprise that publically accessible diabetes resources commonly highlight the potential negatives associated with a diagnosis of diabetes, such as neurological and vascular complications, amputation, and higher rates of depression. What is less commonly highlighted is that half of people diagnosed with diabetes report coping well, and 72% are rarely restricted in their daily activities. Methods Random sampling was used to recruit 50 participants (31 female; 19 male; 71.78±9.64 years) to a foot health promotion event at the Charles Sturt University Community Engagement and Wellness Centre. Student practitioners completed basic neurovascular assessments to ascertain each participant’s arterial, venous and neurological status. Participants also completed the Foot Health Status Questionnaire. With the exception of age, absolute toe pressure and monofilament results, data was categorical in nature. Pearson’s Chi-square was used to identify significant relationships between variables. Results Thirteen percent of participants reported they were currently managing diabetes. This is below the 16.6% expected for Australians in the 65-74 years age range, however, the sample was a random representation of the local over-55 population. Of those reporting medical treatment for diabetes, significant findings suggest the feet of participants did not restrict work activities (p=0.01), climbing stairs (p= 0.04), or the ability to shower and dress themselves (p=0.04). Significant interactions with a diagnosis of diabetes were also noted for an excellent self-rating of health (p<0.00) and energy level (p=0.04). Discussion The findings of this study indicate that the majority of older people living with diabetes are feeling healthy and are not restricted by their diagnosis. It is known that positive messaging in public health campaigns is more effective in changing behaviour than reinforcing negative information. Despite the need to educate clients about the risks associated with poorly controlled diabetes, clinicians also have a key role in highlighting the benefits of positive behavioural change and improving health literacy to enhance the health and wellbeing of clients.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberO31
Pages (from-to)10-10
JournalJournal of Foot and Ankle Research
Issue numberSupp 1
Publication statusPublished - 25 Sept 2019
Event2019 Australian Podiatry Conference - Adelaide, Australia
Duration: 22 May 201924 May 2019


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