• Vol. 40 No. 6, 276–286
  • 15 June 2011

Health-related Quality of Life is Associated with Diabetic Complications, but not with Short-term Diabetic Control in Primary Care

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ABSTRACT

Introduction: Type 2 diabetes mellitus is of increasing healthcare concern worldwide, with incidence rising, complications leading to signifi cant morbidity and mortality, posing strain on public healthcare funding. Health-related quality of life of diabetic patients is increasingly being recognised as “the ultimate goal of all health interventions”. The aim of our study was to identify the quality of life predictors of diabetic patients in primary care. This study was conducted in 8 public primary care polyclinics from SingHealth Polyclinics.

Materials and Methods: We carried out a cross-sectional, questionnaire-based survey on 699 diabetic patients, administered by medical students on a systematic sample of patients during their routine visit. Multiple regression analysis was used to investigate the socio-demographic and clinical characteristics as predictors of quality of life, measured by the Short Form 36 Health Survey (SF-36) and the EQ-5D self-report questionnaire.

Results: : Higher quality of life in diabetic patients is associated with younger age, male gender, employed status, higher educational level and exercise. Lower quality of life is associated with comorbidities and diabetic complications. Short-term glycaemic control as measured by HbA1c did not correlate with quality of life. Most interestingly, confidence in doctor and satisfaction in clinic were related to better quality of life

Conclusion: Health-related quality of life is adversely associated with symptomatic complications of diabetes mellitus, but not with short-term diabetic control. This suggests that the diabetic patient may not appreciate the impact of good diabetic control immediately on his or her health-related quality of life. More effort should be invested into patient education of the importance of glycaemic control to prevent these long-term complications.


Type 2 diabetes mellitus is a major chronic disease globally. With increasing life expectancy, long-term complications of diabetes mellitus leading to significant morbidity and mortality have great impact on each patient’s health. Health-related quality of life refers to a person’s self-perceived functioning and well-being, and is increasingly used to measure how chronic illnesses interfere with a person’s day-to-day life. It has been regarded as “the ultimate goal of all health interventions”.

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