1. In this systematic review, several studies found that religious and spiritual practices positively influenced glycemic control in patients with type 2 diabetes (T2D).
2. However, 2 of the 8 included studies showed mixed results with respect to religious involvement and glycemic control.
Evidence Rating Level: 1 (Excellent)
The management of type 2 diabetes (T2D) involves maintaining optimal glycemic control to prevent serious complications. Religion and spirituality are important for patient wellbeing and may also be methods of managing their health. Currently, little is known with respect to the association between religion and spirituality, and physical health in patients with T2D. As a result, the objective of the present study was to review the literature on the role of spirituality and religion on the glycemic control of patients with T2D.
Of 761 identified records, 8 studies were included from various databases from 1966-2022. Studies were included if they investigated the effects of spirituality or religion on glycemic parameters in patients with T2D. Studies were excluded if they investigated qualitative lifestyle behaviors, psycho-social metrics, or culturally competent prevention/education programs related to diabetes self-management. The review was performed using PRISMA guidelines. The risk of bias was assessed using rating criteria developed by JAMA and the Oxford Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine. The primary outcome was glycemic control.
The results demonstrated that several studies found either a positive or positive-neutral association between religious or spiritual involvement and improved glucose control. However, 2 of the 8 included studies showed mixed results with both positive and negative associations. Despite these results, the study was limited by the heterogeneity and small sample sizes of the included studies which may have limited generalizability. Nonetheless, the present study presented initial evidence suggesting that religious and/or spiritual practices may positively affect glycemic control in some patients with T2D.
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