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Perceived Symptoms in People Living with Impaired Glucose Tolerance

DOI: 10.1155/2011/937038

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The aim of the study was to identify symptoms in people with impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) and describe their experiences of living with the symptoms which they related to their condition. Twenty-one participants, from a cross-sectional population-based study, diagnosed as having IGT, were invited for an interview. The interviews were analyzed in two phases by means of a manifest and latent content analysis. The narratives included seven categories of symptoms (and more than 25 different symptoms) presented by the respondents. This study shows that symptoms such as the patient's own interpretation of different perceptions in the body must be considered, as well as signs and/or objective observations. Symptoms ought to be seen as complementary components in the health encounter and health conversation. The results of this study indicate that health professionals should increase their awareness of the balance between the implicit and the explicit bodily sensations that individuals communicate. Further studies are needed. 1. Introduction Living with impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) means living with an increased risk of developing diabetes mellitus type 2 (T2DM) and is preceded by a long period without symptoms, which is why IGT often remains undetected for a long period of time [1, 2]. At the same time, the prevalence of T2DM is predicted to increase in future decades [3–5], thus emphasizing the importance of identifying additional aspects of understanding what it means to live with IGT. The diagnosis of IGT is based on blood glucose level and determined by OGTT, an oral glucose tolerance test. Impaired glucose tolerance is defined as the two-hour value at OGTT 7.8–11.0?mmol/L and fasting plasma glucose <7?mmol/L according to WHO guidelines [6]. A significant number of patients with IGT already have typical diabetes complications at the time of diagnosing T2DM [7], but knowledge about their illness experiences such as emotional distress are rarely described [8]. Suitable prevention strategies are needed, including both symptoms and signs [9]. It is therefore of significance to describe if any symptoms are perceived by persons diagnosed with IGT. Symptoms refer to the patient’s own interpretation of different sensations in the body: illness, while signs on the other hand are related to objective observations: disease [10]. Signs are abnormalities in the structure and function of body organs and systems and can often be identified by signs of bodily disorder such as oedema, high blood glucose, or large amounts of urine [10]. Symptoms are a large focal


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