Abstract

Background: Diabetes Mellitus (DM) is one of the most widely prevalent diseases in Saudi Arabia. Health education is considered an essential component to improve knowledge and change behavior. People affected by diabetes often have inadequate knowledge about the nature of diabetes, its risk factors and associated complication.

Objectives: The aim of this study was to assess the awareness of the Arar population with various aspects of diabetes mellitus.

Methods: A cross-sectional study was carried out in Arar city, the capital of the Northern Province of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). The study was carried out on Saudi nationals from different age groups that were selected by systematic random sampling. Data was collected by means of personal interview with the participants using a pre-designed questionnaire which was administered by the medical students for each diabetic patient. Data were analyzed by SPSS version 15, using descriptive statistics and Chi-square test.

Results: A total of 702 participants were interviewed, among them 201 (28.6%) males and 501 (71.4%) females, and most of them (77.8%) had high educational level, 10.4% were diabetics, 78.9% did not have regular checkup visits to the doctor and 58.5% did not perform any regular exercises, including walking, 60% thought that DM was due to partial or total decrease in insulin secretion and 12.4% thought that it was due to excess sweet eating. Additionally, 48.7% of the respondents thought that lack of exercise and obesity were the major risk factors of DM, 33.2% thought that it was a genetic disease. The majority (86.3) of the participants believed that the treatment of DM was a combination of healthy diet, exercise and medication and more than half (63.1%) said that weight loss and modification of life style were the most important preventive measures of DM. Regarding participants’ knowledge about DM complications, 24.5% knew about retinopathy and loss of vision, 8.3% knew about retinopathy, loss of vision, low sensation and numbness in extremities, 24.9% said that symptoms of DM were thirst and frequent urination. 

Conclusion: This study recommends that health policy makers conduct more effective health education sessions to increase knowledge of diabetic patients and their caregivers about diabetes and the importance of compliance with its treatment.

 

Keywords: Awareness, Diabetes, Knowledge, Arar City, Northern Saudi Arabia
 
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