Use of complementary and alternative medicine among persons with diabetes mellitus: results of a national survey

Am J Public Health. 2002 Oct;92(10):1648-52. doi: 10.2105/ajph.92.10.1648.


Objectives: This study sought to characterize the use of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) among persons with diabetes mellitus residing in the United States.

Methods: Data from a 1997-1998 national survey (n = 2055) on CAM use were examined.

Results: Ninety-five respondents reported having diabetes, of whom 57% reported CAM use in the past year; fewer respondents (35%) reported use specifically for diabetes. Therapies used for diabetes included solitary prayer/spiritual practices (28%), herbal remedies (7%), commercial diets (6%), and folk remedies (3%). Excluding solitary prayer, only 20% of respondents used CAM to treat diabetes.

Conclusions: The prevalence of CAM therapy use among persons with diabetes is comparable to that among the general population. Use of CAM therapies specifically to treat diabetes, however, is much less common.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Complementary Therapies / classification
  • Complementary Therapies / statistics & numerical data*
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical
  • Demography
  • Diabetes Complications
  • Diabetes Mellitus / therapy*
  • Female
  • Health Care Surveys*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Self Care
  • United States