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OBJECTIVES: To examine life experiences of Thai Muslims living with Type 2 diabetes (T2DM).
MATERIALS AND METHODS: A qualitative study was conducted with Thai Muslims in the South of Thailand. The research used purposive sampling to select participants for in-depth interviews. Thirteen participants who were diagnosed at least one year and able to communicate verbally in Thai were recruited. Data were analyzed by content analysis.
RESULTS: Three themes emerged from life experiences of Thai Muslims with T2DM: “Before diagnosis”, “When facing the diagnosis” and “Living with the unwelcome guest (diabetes)”. During “Before diagnosis”, the participants reflected the primary sign with major symptoms. For “When facing the diagnosis”, the participants reflected their feeling as “unwelcome guest” which referred to undesirable visitors who intrude into their home unexpectedly. It can be categorized in 3 sub-themes which were “unexpected”, “annoying” and “God sent”. In “Living with the unwelcome guest (diabetes)”; there were 3 sub-themes: “finding ways to get rid of the unwelcome guest” (various self-care behaviors in controlling blood sugar level), “discouraged by the disease” (lost their hope in fighting against their uncontrolled blood sugar levels) or feeling tired in taking control of food (when all the things that were done did not work), and “To bear it” (a feeling after being discouraged after unsuccessfully controlling the disease and deciding to ignore it or let it be).
CONCLUSION: These findings reflected that Thai Muslims with T2DM struggled with the disease, could not manage their life with it, and got less support from both family and the community. Thus, health care professionals need to provide cultural sensitive care specific for Thai Muslims.
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