Original Research

A review of hypoglycaemia in a South African family practice setting

Devan K. Pillay, Andrew J. Ross, Laura Campbell
African Journal of Primary Health Care & Family Medicine | Vol 8, No 1 | a1095 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/phcfm.v8i1.1095 | © 2016 Devan K. Pillay, Andrew J. Ross, Laura Campbell | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 18 November 2015 | Published: 17 June 2016

About the author(s)

Devan K. Pillay, Department of Family Medicine, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Andrew J. Ross, Family Medicine, School of Nursing and Public Health, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Laura Campbell, Family Medicine, School of Nursing and Public Health, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: The prevalence and incidence of diabetes in South Africa are high and are expected to increase. Mortality and morbidity may be related to hypoglycaemia, and there is limited information on hypoglycaemia from private practice sites. The aim of this study was to assess patients’ education about, knowledge of and response to hypoglycaemia.

Methods: The study site was a general practice, and participants were all patients with diabetes who presented to the practice over a 1-month period. Data were collected using a closedended questionnaire and analysed descriptively.

Findings: Most respondents were South Africans of Indian origin and were diagnosed with diabetes at a relatively young age. Despite attending a private practice, most had low incomes and low schooling levels. Just under half reported having experienced hypoglycaemia, and there was a strong association between hypoglycaemia and insulin use. Many reported never having received any education around hypoglycaemia.

Discussion: The study highlights the need for early screening for diabetes in this vulnerable population. Hypoglycaemic education should consider low schooling levels even in a private general practice, and further study is required on the quality and frequency of education provided in general practice.

Keywords: diabetes; hypoglycemia, KwaZulu-Natal; hypoglycemic education


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