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A questionnaire survey of 40 Asian and 31 British non-insulin dependent diabetics attending a hospital clinic showed that both groups remembered receiving education about diabetes (90%) but Asian diabetics knew less about glucose monitoring and diabetic complications. Asians also had a more negative attitude towards the clinic, feeling they were made to wait longer than the British. They were frustrated by a lack of communication with the staff. Forty per cent of both Asian and British diabetics felt that diabetes prevented them from leading a normal lifestyle. Twenty seven per cent of both Asian and British diabetics used herbal or alternative medicines, but Asians differed in that they used these medicines specifically for diabetes. A further sample of 50 Asians had poorer glycaemic control than a sample of British diabetics matched for age, sex and type of diabetes. It is concluded that despite receiving the same education as British diabetics, Asians did not understand it as well. The education was often not relevant to their diets or customs. This may contribute to their poorer glycaemic control. Diabetic clinic facilities need to be improved for Asian diabetics, to improve their understanding of diabetes.