Experiences of Diabetes Self-Management: A Focus Group Study among the Middle-Aged Population of Rural Pakistan with Type 2 Diabetes

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Objectives: The middle-aged population from rural areas of Pakistan is disproportionately at risk of developing and mismanaging their diabetes. The purpose of this study was to explore the self-management experiences of two focus groups in the middle-aged population with type 2 diabetes mellitus living in rural Pakistan. Methods: The study design is based on the exploratory research using a qualitative approach. Purposive sampling was used to recruit patients with diabetes from the metabolic outpatient clinics of medical centers in rural areas of Pakistan. The data were collected for two focus groups consisting of 20 persons (10 men and 10 women) with type 2 diabetes mellitus, ranging in age from 40 to 65 years, who were receiving diabetic care at a local health facility. Focus group discussions with a sample size of 10 participants each were all recorded, transcribed, and analyzed. The data were evaluated thematically. Results: Participants described diabetes management as emotionally, physically, and socially taxing. The analysis of the data indicated three major themes: (1) diabetes as a challenging disease; (2) understanding diabetes and its challenges; (3) following diabetes self-management practices. Throughout the session, participants discussed the impact of diabetes on their daily life. This study provided new insights into the experiences of the middle-aged population of Pakistan regarding their self-management of diabetes. Conclusions: Healthcare professionals should become involved in diabetes self-management education as soon as feasible to alleviate patient worry and establish better patient-centered, culturally sensitive professional abilities. Along with monitoring patients’ self-management, healthcare professionals should place a greater emphasis on patients’ understanding of the disease and its challenges and associated complications. It is recommended to establish diabetes support groups to encourage patients to share their experiences of diabetes self-management.

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