Language Barrier Hurts Diabetics, Study Finds10/08/10
FRIDAY, Oct. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Hispanic diabetes patients
who can't discuss their condition with a doctor in their own
language have poorer health, even when interpreter services are
available, a new study has found.
Researchers analyzed data from diabetes patients in California
and found that 28 percent of Hispanic patients with limited
English-language skills seen by non-Spanish-speaking doctors had
poor blood sugar control, compared with 16 percent who had
There was no difference in blood sugar control between
English-speaking Hispanics and non-English-speaking Hispanics if
they had access to a doctor who spoke their language, the
Only 10 percent of white patients had poor blood sugar control,
said the researchers at the University of California, San
Francisco, and the Kaiser Permanente Division of Research.
"Diabetes is a complex disease that requires a high level of patient understanding and engagement for successful management. These patients may need direct communication with Spanish-speaking physicians to manage their disease appropriately," lead author Dr. Alicia Fernandez, a UCSF professor of medicine, said in a UCSF/Kaiser news release.
The United States is becoming linguistically more diverse and
the number of people with diabetes is rising, making it
increasingly important to understand how language barriers can
affect patient care, the researchers said.
The study findings were released online in advance of
publication in the January 2011 print issue of the
Journal of General Internal Medicine.
The U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney
Diseases has more about
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