Background: As the prevalence of youth onset diabetes in Jamaica increases, the impact of this disease on Health Related Quality of life (QOL) needs to be evaluated.
Methods: Patients from two major referral hospitals had QOL assessed using a modified diabetes-39 questionnaire administered by a trained interviewer. Subscale scores were transformed to standard scale scores ranging from 0 (lowest impact) to 100 (highest impact) and the impact of socio-demographic factors, treatment and medical history on QOL examined.
Results: Fifty-seven participants (21M, 36F, mean age 19.0 ± 5.1 years, diabetes duration 2.7 ± 2.2 years, 96% black) had QOL assessed. Anxiety and worry had the greatest impact (median score = 41) and sexual functioning, the lowest impact (median Score = 0) on QOL. Older age, later age of onset, longer diabetes duration, better glucose control and not using insulin were associated with a higher anxiety and worry score. Multiple regression analysis was conducted to determine which of these were associated with the anxiety and worry score after controlling for age. Anxiety and worry increased with age (regression coefficient (SE); 2.05[0.68]) and was higher in those on oral agents compared to those using insulin (-27.9 [10.9]).
Conclusion: Measures to address anxiety and worry in Jamaican youth with diabetes need to be implemented to minimize the impact the disease may have on their QOL.