Healthy adolescents’ knowledge of diabetes mellitus in a semi-urban community in South-South Nigeria
Background: Diabetes mellitus has become an important public health challenge affecting both the young and adults. This study was carried out in order to determine the knowledge and awareness of diabetes mellitus among adolescents in Oghara, South-South Nigeria.
Method: This was a cross-sectional descriptive study in which a structured questionnaire on the various aspects of diabetes mellitus was administered to 250 students followed by a health educational talk on the disease. Three weeks later, the same questionnaire was re-administered to find out if the talk had made an impact.
Result: About 20% of the students could tell the cause of diabetes before the health talk and this increased to 86% after. Excessive passage of urine was the most frequent symptom of diabetes mellitus identified by the subjects but only 13% of them could identify more than one symptom of diabetes before the health awareness talk. The kidney was the most common organ identified as being affected, with the retina being the least. Majority of the respondents believed erroneously that urine sugar could be used to diagnose diabetes mellitus. The respondents were also more aware of the importance of weight reduction, exercise, insulin and oral medication, for treatment of diabetes mellitus after the health educational talk.
Conclusion: Knowledge and awareness of certain aspects of diabetes mellitus among adolescents is poor. However, adequate health education had a positive impact on their knowledge and awareness. Sustained health educational programmes in schools and communities about this condition are advocated.
Keywords: Health education, insulin, kidney, risk factors, urine sugar