Diabetes has become a global pandemic and Chinese Americans are at least 60% more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than White Americans, despite having lower body weight, due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Because of the increased risk, it is vitally important to address the issues of treatment adherence and diabetes self-management in the Chinese American population. Many factors affect an individual's ability to manage diabetes, including cultural beliefs, immigration experience, language abilities/health literacy, educational background, employment, and accessibility of healthcare services. In treating Chinese American patients, these factors must be considered to determine appropriate treatment. Eastern cultural and individual beliefs differ greatly from Western beliefs and, therefore, may affect the presentation of the patients. If left unacknowledged, these differences might be misinterpreted by healthcare providers as merely treatment non-adherence or unwillingness to change. Suggestions for providing culturally competent healthcare are discussed.
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