Language barrier and its relationship to diabetes and diabetic retinopathy

Zheng, Yingfeng and Lamoureux, Ecosse L. and Chiang, Pei-Chia Peggy and Anuar, Ainur Rahman and Ding, Jie and Wang, Jie Jin and Mitchell, Paul and Tai, E-Shyong and Wong, Tien Y. (2012) Language barrier and its relationship to diabetes and diabetic retinopathy. BMC Public Health, 12 (1). p. 781. ISSN 1471-2458, DOI

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Background: Language barrier is an important determinant of health care access and health. We examined the associations of English proficiency with type-2 diabetes (T2DM) and diabetic retinopathy (DR) in Asian Indians living in Singapore, an urban city where English is the predominant language of communication. Methods. This was a population-based, cross-sectional study. T2DM was defined as HbA1c 6.5%, use of diabetic medication or a physician diagnosis of diabetes. Retinal photographs were graded for the severity of DR including vision-threatening DR (VTDR). Presenting visual impairment (VI) was defined as LogMAR visual acuity>0.30 in the better-seeing eye. English proficiency at the time of interview was assessed. Results: The analyses included 2,289 (72.1%) English-speaking and 885 (27.9%) Tamil- speaking Indians. Tamil-speaking Indians had significantly higher prevalence of T2DM (46.2 vs. 34.7%, p<0.001) and, among those with diabetes, higher prevalence of DR (36.0 vs. 30.6%, p<0.001), VTDR (11.0 vs. 6.5%, p<0.001), and VI (32.4 vs. 14.6%) than English speaking Indians. Oaxaca decomposition analyses showed that the language-related discrepancies (defined as the difference in prevalence between persons speaking different languages) in T2DM, DR, and VTDR could not be fully explained by socioeconomic measures. Conclusions: In an English dominant society, Tamil-speaking Indians are more likely to have T2DM and diabetic retinopathy. Social policies and health interventions that address language-related health disparities may help reduce the public health impact of T2DM in societies with heterogeneous populations. © 2012 Zheng et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Asian indians; Diabetes; Diabetic retinopathy; English proficiency; Visual impairment
Subjects: R Medicine
Divisions: Faculty of Medicine
Depositing User: Ms. Juhaida Abd Rahim
Date Deposited: 22 Nov 2019 06:18
Last Modified: 22 Nov 2019 06:18

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