Journal of Mid-life Health Journal of Mid-life Health
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Year : 2013  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 176-181

Cross-cultural variation in symptom perception of hypoglycemia

1 Department of Endocrinology, Bharti Hospital and B.R.I.D.E, Karnal, Haryana, India
2 Department of Psychiatry, AIIMS, New Delhi, India
3 Department of Endocrinology, Medanta Hospital, Gurgaon, India

Correspondence Address:
Sanjay Kalra
Department of Endocrinology, Bharti Hospital and B.R.I.D.E, Karnal, Haryana
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0976-7800.118998

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Background: Cross-cultural differences in attitudes and practices related to diabetes are well-known. Similar differences in symptom reporting of endocrine conditions such as menopause are well documented. Minimal literature is available on the cross-cultural variation in reporting of hypoglycemic symptoms. Aims: This cross-sectional study aimed to assess the symptoms of hypoglycemia encountered by diabetologists who deal with patients from different language groups from various states of North and West India and Nepal. Materials and Methods: Eighty three doctors from six Indian states and Nepal, attending a continuing medical education program were requested to fill a detailed, pre-tested, Likert scale based questionnaire which assessed the frequency and symptoms with which patients presented with hypoglycemia in their clinical practice. Data were analyzed based on geographic location of the diabetologists and language spoken by their patients (Hindi vs. Gujarati). Results: Gujarati-speaking patients tended to report to their doctors, a greater inability to work under pressure and a higher frequency of intense hunger during hypoglycemia. They were less likely to report specific adrenergic (inward trembling), neuroglycopenic (feeling down over nothing), and nocturnal (crumpled bedsheets upon waking up) symptoms. Conclusion: Significant cross-cultural differences related to the symptomatology of hypoglycemia are noted. Indian diabetologists should be aware of the varying presentation of hypoglycemia based on language and ethnic background.

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