Aims: To examine the understanding and beliefs of people with diabetes from the Bangladeshi community living in the UK.
Methods: Structured interviews were carried out with 14 people invited to a peer educational programme. All interviews were on a one-to-one basis and were in Sylheti or in English. Interviews were transcribed and analysed by two independent researchers.
Results: The majority of participants did not know what caused diabetes. Knowledge of the management of diabetes was linked to controlling sugar intake and a number of participants reported eating bitter foods such as bitter gourd to control their diabetes. There was little access to information as many participants did not speak English and did not have a Bengali-speaking doctor. The majority of participants felt that education classes should teach them what the doctor thought was important and that these classes would best be advertised by word of mouth. Therefore, participants were quite passive about their own self management and relied very strongly on the doctor's views and recommendations.
Conclusions: Findings from this study can be used to help health professionals working with Bangladeshi people. There is a need for improved information for Bangladeshi people and much of this information might need to come from health professionals. In addition, there is a need for increased awareness by health professionals of practices used by Bangladeshi people, such as eating bitter gourd (which may enhance the effects of rosiglitazone), and the influence these practices could have on the individual's diabetes management.