Effects of diabetes mellitus on health-related quality of life at a tertiary hospital in South Africa: A cross-sectional study

R Daya, Z Bayat, F J Raal


Background. Diabetes mellitus (DM) is a chronic metabolic disease that potentially causes debilitating and life-threatening complications, demands a lifestyle change, and has important implications with regard to wellbeing and health-related quality of life (HRQOL).

Objectives. To: (i) determine the HRQOL of a sample of patients with type 2 diabetes; (ii) describe the demographics (age, gender, and smoking and alcohol use) of the population studied; (iii) document the following parameters, which are important in determining the control and severity of type 2 diabetes: (a) glycosylated haemoglobin (HbA1C), (b) total amount of insulin required per day (if on insulin therapy), (c) body mass index (BMI), and (d) exercise compliance; (iv) determine whether there was an association between any or all of the above parameters and the HRQOL of these patients; and (v) determine whether coexisting diseases (hypertension (HT) and dyslipidaemia) were present, and compare HRQOL between diabetic patients with and without these diseases.

Methods. This was a cross-sectional and descriptive study of 200 patients attending the diabetes clinic at Helen Joseph Hospital, Johannesburg, South Africa. HRQOL assessments were made using the Diabetes 39 (D-39) questionnaire, which patients filled in once consent had been obtained and if they fulfilled the inclusion criteria. Patients’ questionnaire forms were then analysed with regard to their demographics (age and gender), exercise regimen, smoking and alcohol history, employment status, living arrangements, age of diagnosis of DM, and concurrent use of antihypertensive and cholesterol-lowering drugs. The patients’ files were analysed and various clinical parameters were noted (HbA1C, lipogram, BMI, number of insulin units used per day, and whether any antihypertensive and/or lipid-lowering drugs were used).

Results. There was an association between HRQOL and HbA1C, and between HRQOL and HT and dyslipidaemia.

Conclusions. No association was found between HRQOL and other clinical parameters, namely number of insulin units used per day, exercise, BMI, lipogram and the use of oral hypoglycaemic agents. Demographic parameters (age, gender, age at diagnosis, employment status and living arrangements) were also shown to have no impact on HRQOL. We found no association between HRQOL in patients who consumed alcohol and smoked cigarettes and in those who did not.

Authors' affiliations

R Daya, Department of Endocrinology, Internal Medicine, Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital, Johannesburg, South Africa

Z Bayat, Department of Endocrinology, Internal Medicine, Helen Joseph Hospital, Johannesburg, South Africa

F J Raal, Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Department of Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

Full Text

PDF (221KB)


Diabetes mellitus; Health-related quality of life

Cite this article

South African Medical Journal 2016;106(9):918-928. DOI:10.7196/SAMJ.2016.v106i9.9899

Article History

Date submitted: 2015-07-14
Date published: 2016-08-05

Article Views

Abstract views: 2091
Full text views: 960

Comments on this article

*Read our policy for posting comments here