Quality of life (QOL) is a good indicator of lifespan, especially for individuals who are suffering from a particular illness. QOL among patients with diabetes mellitus (DM) could be used for further implementations in addition to improving patient care and disease management, especially during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. This study aimed to assess QOL and identify factors associated with a good QOL among DM patients in northern Thailand.
A cross-sectional study was conducted to gather information from DM patients attending six randomly selected hospitals in the Chiang Rai province, northern Thailand. A validated questionnaire and the 26-item quality of life brief version (WHOQOL-BREF) were used to collect socioeconomic factors and assess QOL, respectively. Chi-square tests and logistic regression were used to detect the associations between variables at a significance level of α = 0.05.
A total of 967 participants were enrolled in the study: 58.8% were female, 52.3% were aged ≥ 60 years, 79.7% graduated primary school and had no additional education, 68.7% had an annual income ≤ 50,000 baht, and 29.3% were unemployed. The majority of patients had a poor-to-moderate overall QOL (49.4%); 90.1% reported a moderate QOL in the physical domain, 54.7% reported a moderate QOL in the mental domain, 63.4% reported a good QOL in the social relationship domain, and 50.6% reported a good QOL in the environmental domain. In multivariate analysis, seven variables were found to be associated with good QOL among the participants. Those aged ≤ 59 years had 1.90 times (95% CI 1.32–2.73) greater odds of having good QOL than those aged ≥ 60. Those who had annual income ≥ 100,001 baht had 2.16 times (95% CI 1.17–3.96) greater odds of having good QOL than those who had annual income ≤ 50,000 baht. Those who lived alone and with spouses had 3.38 times (95% CI 1.42–8.02) and 2.20 times (95% CI 1.20–4.02) greater odds of having good QOL, respectively, than those who lived with relatives. Those who exercised regularly had 4.72 times (95% CI 2.71–8.19) greater odds of having good QOL than those who never exercised. Those who had a high level of knowledge regarding prevention and care had 3.26 times (95% CI 1.22–5.55) greater odds of having good QOL than those who had low knowledge. Those who did not have diabetic nephropathy had 7.41 times (95% CI 4.99–11.01) greater odds of having good QOL than those who were diagnosed with diabetic nephropathy, and those whose medical fees were supported by the government under the universal scheme had 4.31 times (95% CI 1.15–16.7) greater odds of having good QOL than those who had to support themselves.
Almost a half of DM patients in northern Thailand reported having a low-to-moderate QOL, which can be improved by focusing on socioeconomic factors, family support as well as improving knowledge regarding DM prevention and care, including the support of medical fees.