African Health Sciences

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Clinical presentation of newly diagnosed diabetes patients in a rural district hospital in Eastern Uganda

Roy William Mayega, Elizeus Rutebemberwa


Background: Our objective was to describe the clinical presentation of new diabetes patients in a rural hospital, to enhance clinical detection in low resource settings.
Methods: A case series assessment of 103 new diabetes patients consecutively enrolled at Iganga Hospital in rural Eastern Uganda was conducted. All underwent a basic clinical assessment through the clinic’s routine procedures.Following diagnosis, variables pertinent to the study (symptoms, blood pressure, anthropometry, and blood glucose) were secondarily abstracted from their clinical records.
Results: Fiftty two percent of new diabetes patients were female. The mean age was 49 years (SD=14.4). Two clinical symptoms were present in almost all new patients: Frequent urination (100%) and frequent thirst (79%). Moderately occurring symptoms (i.e. 25-50% of patients) included blurred vision, frequent eating and frequent sweating. The mean duration of symptoms was 1.4 years; 48% had high blood pressure while 46% were overweight. Random blood sugar was normal for 25% of patients. The majority (71%) were classified as having ‘moderate illness’ at diagnosis. Severe illness was significantly lower among patients aged 40 or older compared to younger patients (OR 0.1; 95% CI 0.03-0.35).
Conclusion: Out-patients aged 40-65 years should be prioritised for early diabetes diagnosis and associated risk factors in this setting.

Keywords: Diabetes, clinical presentation, newly diagnosed, unrecognized disease.

AJOL African Journals Online