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    Learning and Diabetes: A vicious circle


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    Female Posts : 4988
    Join date : 2014-08-13

    Learning and Diabetes: A vicious circle

    Post by Jan1 on Thu May 11 2017, 19:50

    Dr Katharine Morrison posted this on The Diabetes Diet Blog ...

    "Practical Diabetes Nov/Dec 16
    Only 32% of type one diabetics and 78% of type two diabetics are currently offered structural education in England. Even then, not all will attend. Will it have any positive long term effects for those who do? Many issues affect learning. This article discusses some of them.

    Literacy and numeracy
    In England in 2011, 15% of the population aged 16-65 had the learning that is expected of an eleven year old child. This is considered “functionally illiterate” by the National Literacy Trust.  Although they would not be able to pass an English GCE, they can read simple texts on familiar topics. More than 50,000 UK diabetics are at this basic level of reading ability.

    Numeracy problems are higher with 24% of adults function at the same level as your average eleven year old. Testing diabetics shows that numeracy and literacy are linked and that blood sugar control is better in those with better numeracy and literacy. This is not surprising since so many tasks need these skills.

    Weighing foods and estimating portion sizes


    Converting between metric and imperial systems

    Multiplying and dividing

    Using decimals

    Recognising and understanding fractions

    Working with ratios, proportions and percentages

    Arial 12 point font, upper and lower case, on white or off white backgrounds, using short words, short sentences and short paragraphs all improve readability.

    Health Literacy
    Health literacy includes reading, writing, numeracy, listening, speaking and understanding.
    In the type two diabetes population, lower health literacy was significantly associated with less knowledge of diabetes, poorer glucose self- management, less exercise and more smoking.

    In the USA people understood food labels better if they had higher income and education.  Overall 31% gave the wrong answer to food label questions. Many diabetics have problems with misinterpreting glucose meter readings, miscalculating carbohydrate intake and medication doses.
    Lower scores were associated with being older, non-white, fewer years in education, lower income and lower literacy and numeracy scores.
    When an internet based patient system was offered, those with limited health literacy were less likely to sign in and had more difficulty navigating the system.

    Cognitive impairment
    Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia and other cognitive impairments are more likely in diabetics particularly those with type two diabetes. A longer duration of diabetes and a younger age of onset were associated with cognitive impairment.

    High blood sugars can cause poor concentration, tension, irritability, restlessness and agitation. In experiments, high blood sugar induced delayed information processing, poorer working memory, and impaired attention.
    In five to eighteen year olds with new type one diabetes most neuropsychological tests showed considerable impairment.  One year post diagnosis, dominant hand reaction time was worse in those with poor glycaemic control.
    Long term, type ones diagnosed before the age of 18 had five times the risk of cognitive impairment compared to their non- diabetic counterparts. Chronic hyperglycaemia increased the risk.

    Most friends and relatives can recognise if someone well known to them has a low blood sugar, often faster than the individual. Cognitive performance drops at blood sugars of 2.6-3 in non- diabetic subjects.  In type one children, those who had recurrent severe hypoglycaemia had more impaired memory and learning.

    Psychological issues
    Both depression and anxiety can impair test performance. Both of these and other mental illnesses are more common in diabetics.

    Sensory and motor problems
    Visual impairment and deafness can make some learning methods difficult.

    We all learn in different ways. A substantial proportion of the population has low literacy and numeracy. This impairs health literacy which impairs diabetes knowledge for self -care. Poor numeracy may worsen blood sugar control. Clearly written, easily readable information helps everyone. Having diabetes increases the risk of cognitive impairment both at diagnosis and long term. Both high and low blood sugars affect current ability to learn and may have long term adverse effects on cognition.
    Before teaching diabetics it is worth having a think about any difficulties your patient could be having assimilating the learning. If so, how can you tailor your teaching to their needs?"

    The BBC has adult learning resources at

    The Diabetes Diet Blog link here

    Pause ... something to think about?

    All the best Jan
    chris c

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    Posts : 4520
    Join date : 2015-07-26

    Re: Learning and Diabetes: A vicious circle

    Post by chris c on Fri May 12 2017, 00:37

    Makes little difference how intelligent you are - or not - when you are so woefully misinformed. See most doctors for example.

      Current date/time is Tue Jan 22 2019, 08:21