As the leading cause of disability and death in the U.S. and the entire world, chronic conditions can be considered a significant public health problem in modern society. In fact, they are usually associated with constant pain, fatigue, and mood disorders, which worsen the overall quality of life. At the same time, the majority of chronic illnesses, such as diabetes and heart disease, are preventable if appropriate measures are taken. In contrast, poor diet choices, bad habits, and a lack of physical activity considerably increase the likelihood of facing some chronic health issues. Therefore, it is tremendously essential to take into consideration positive lifestyle choices, such as eating a balanced diet and getting adequate sleep. However, some forms of chronic conditions are unpreventable, as they develop on a genetic level. In this case, people are advised to manage a certain condition with the help of medications and the transformation of lifestyle strategies.
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For instance, diabetes is a life-changing condition that cannot always be prevented. On the one hand, some forms of this health issue can be prevented by cutting sugar and refined carbohydrates from the diet, eating fiber, and quitting smoking. On the other hand, there are cases when the body is unable to process glucose naturally. This form of diabetes cannot be prevented with the help of lifestyle changes, although it can be successfully managed if noticed on time. There is a variety of treatment programs that have been used by patients with this diagnosis for numerous decades, which is why diabetes is not perceived as a life-threatening disease anymore. Simultaneously, if the symptoms of this health issue are ignored, the person is likely to face multiple health complications, including heart attack, kidney damage, eye problems, or neuropathy.
Accordingly, in order to minimize the potential negative impact of any chronic diseases, including diabetes, it is crucial to go for general medical checkups regularly. As a result, patients will get the opportunity to detect health issues at the earliest stages of their development. When it comes to diabetes, this health disorder can only be diagnosed by specialist diabetes healthcare professionals. Subsequently, the process of understanding this condition should start with making a regular appointment with a doctor. The inability of the body to store and use the sugar and fat from the food can result in the development of diabetes, which means that lifestyle changes and diabetes medication should become an integral part of the patient’s life.
Overview of the Problem
Currently, diabetes is widely known as a metabolic disease that causes high blood sugar. Most frequently, this health issue develops due to the inability of the body to produce insulin or use it properly. Moreover, there are cases when the body exhibits a combination of both. In other words, the cells do not receive appropriate amounts of sugar from the blood, which is why blood sugar levels increase.
When the person consumes food, it transforms into a simple sugar called glucose. This monosaccharide serves the function of providing energy that a body needs for daily activities. In turn, the amount of glucose significantly depends on insulin, as this hormone promotes glucose uptake. For instance, the increase in glucose is interrelated with the process of releasing more insulin to push more glucose into the cells (Punthakee et al.). As a result, to increase blood glucose levels, the body contributes to the development of the need to consume food. From the perspective of people who are diagnosed with diabetes, their bodies do not make insulin or their cells are resistant to this hormone. Hence, it results in a considerable increase in sugar levels in the blood.
At the present time, clinicians identify four main types of diabetes, such as type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, as well as prediabetes, and gestational diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is a chronic health issue that develops when the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the cells of an individual which produce insulin. Scientists and clinicians still debate regarding the main cause of these attacks, although it is assumed that the body’s own immune system functions inappropriately due to genetic factors (Punthakee et al.). In terms type 2 diabetes, this form of health condition is extremely common in the whole world. In contrast to type 1 diabetes, this form of metabolic disease is characterized by the inability of cells to respond to insulin in the appropriate manner. In addition, this form of diabetes is usually associated with obesity. Thus, the majority of patients are diagnosed with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes, although cases of prediabetes and gestational diabetes also take place.
Prediabetes is a health condition when the body produces a higher than normal blood sugar level. In fact, it can be considered a sign that lifestyle changes are required to avoid the potential development of this condition into type 2 diabetes. By entering high-quality prevention programs, people are predicted to decrease blood sugar levels and avoid health complications. In turn, gestational diabetes usually occurs among pregnant women who were not diagnosed with any form of diabetes before pregnancy. In this case, females are required to eat healthy foods, exercise and, if necessary, take medication. Ignoring these recommendations can contribute to the development of type 2 diabetes and obesity in the life of the newborn. Furthermore, some babies can die either before or shortly after birth. Therefore, in order to reduce the impact of this chronic disease on the life of adults and newborns, it is essential to go for regular medical checkups.
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The prevalence and morbidity of diabetes and prediabetes change annually, even though there are some trends that repeat each year. In 2018, a total of twenty-four million Americans were diagnosed with this chronic disease, which is approximately ten percent of the overall population in the U.S (CDC). Presently, it is the number one cause of kidney failure, lower-limb amputations, and adult blindness in the country. Most frequently, such a considerable number of people diagnosed with this health issue is considered to be the result of a sedentary lifestyle. Out of all people suffering from diabetes, nearly one and half million individuals are diagnosed with type 1 diabetes (CDC). In other words, this form of a metabolic disorder accounts for around five percent of all diabetes cases. Consequently, over ninety percent of individuals with diabetes struggle with the second type of this disease. It can be explained by the inability of bodies to use insulin efficiently.
In the context of the demographic structure of people diagnosed with diabetes, it is crucial to take into account age, gender, and race. For example, approximately fourteen percent of Americans aged over sixty suffer from diabetes (CDC). It is assumed that the chances of facing this chronic disease increase with age because of increasing insulin resistance and impaired pancreatic islet function. When it comes to youth, over 200,000 individuals struggle with the consequences of this type of metabolic disorder (CDC). From the perspective of race, African Americans, Hispanics, and American Indians are at the highest risk of facing diabetes, whereas representatives of the white race are least likely to be diagnosed with this health issue. It can be explained by the fact that white people have the lowest rates of obesity which can result in insulin resistance.
As the seventh leading cause of death in the U.S., diabetes is considered one of the most considerable health issues in the country. A total of one and half million Americans died due to diabetes complications in 2019 (CDC). At the same time, it is predicted that the majority of cases of diabetes are underreported. Nearly one-third of Americans with diabetes who died had this chronic disease listed on their death certificate (CDC). As a result, thousands of people live in the U.S. without having a proper understanding of their health status. As to the cost of diabetes, around $320 billion are spent on cases of diagnosed diabetes in the U.S. annually (CDC). Accordingly, medical expenditures among people without diabetes are two times lower than expenditures among individuals suffering from any form of diabetes. It is another reason why diabetes should be taken into consideration by the American population and the local government.
Diabetes symptoms depend on a variety of factors, including the exact level of blood sugar, age of the person, and the presence of other chronic issues. Usually, general symptoms of this disease are increased hunger, frequent urination, extreme fatigue, and weight loss. However, symptoms can also vary based on the type of diabetes (Bettencourt-Silva et al.). For instance, individuals suffering from type 1 diabetes are likely to experience hunger, tiredness, and unintentional weight loss. At the same time, people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes are predicted to experience increased hunger, blurry vision, as well as sores that are slow to heal. Also, it is essential to note that high levels of sugar circulating in the blood contribute to the development of recurring infections, as it is difficult for the body to heal. Hence, symptoms of diabetes significantly vary, although it is important to make an appointment with a doctor in case some of the symptoms listed above are noticed.
Furthermore, gender plays an important role in terms of diabetes symptoms. In fact, females struggling with this chronic disease are more likely to face urinary tract infections and yeast infections than males (Bettencourt-Silva et al.). Simultaneously, men have a higher likelihood of suffering from a decreased sex drive and poor muscle strength. A vast amount of attention should also be dedicated to symptoms of gestational diabetes. On the one hand, this type of diabetes is not associated with noticeable signs or symptoms. On the other hand, females diagnosed with this disease are likely to experience unusual thirst, frequent urination in large amounts, and fatigue. Taking into account that gestational diabetes can result in an increased risk of premature birth, pregnant women are recommended to go for routine practitioner visits on a regular basis.
Each type of diabetes is caused by different factors that should be taken into consideration equally. For example, as an autoimmune disease, type 1 diabetes has been studied for several decades. Nevertheless, clinicians are still not aware of the main cause of this disorder. The only thing that is known to scientists is that the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks insulin-producing beta cells (CDC). In spite of the fact that this topic still needs to be studied from different perspectives, scientists assume that type 1 diabetes might develop due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Most frequently, children and adolescents are diagnosed with this form of a metabolic disorder, which is why it is believed that genes are involved in the process of type 1 diabetes development. However, this chronic disease is considered a rare form of diabetes.
In turn, type 2 diabetes is regarded as the most common form of this health issue despite the fact that it is preventable in the majority of cases. In the context of causes, the body’s cells become resistant to insulin, which is why this hormone cannot be used efficiently. As a result, the level of blood sugar increases, whereas insulin production significantly declines. The main factors contributing to the development of this type of diabetes are obesity, genes, and the lack of physical activity. Finally, gestational diabetes is a disease that only occurs during pregnancy. It is assumed that this form of diabetes is caused by the process when insulin-blocking hormones are produced.
There are different risk factors for each type of diabetes, which is why the process of diabetes prevention should be mainly based on eliminating these factors from life. In the case of type 1 diabetes, the primary risk factors include family history and age. Currently, the majority of individuals diagnosed with this chronic disease have a family member suffering from the same health issue. Therefore, genes are believed to play an essential role when it comes to type 1 diabetes. In addition, children and adolescents are most likely to struggle with this problem, which is the reason why age is considered a considerable risk factor for this form of diabetes. Simultaneously, in the U.S., representatives of the white race are diagnosed with this chronic disease way more frequently than members of other ethnic groups.
As for type 2 diabetes, its risk factors are clearer and understood better. For example, people are considered to be at risk of facing this health issue if they are diagnosed with obesity and prediabetes (Bellou et al.). Moreover, women suffering from gestational diabetes at some point in their lives are likely to be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in the future as well. Similar to type 1 diabetes, both age and family history belongs to the list of risk factors for type 2 diabetes. However, in this case, people aged forty-five and older are at risk of facing this health issue. A vast amount of attention should be paid to the physical activity of the person. In fact, physically active people are more sensitive to insulin. By the way, physical activity can be attributed to effective preventative measures in terms of heart disease and nerve damage.
In the context of prediabetes and gestational diabetes, risk factors are similar, although there are some differences. For instance, there is a high chance to face prediabetes if the person belongs to the groups of African Americans, Latinos, or American Indians. Besides, being overweight and aged over forty-five contribute to the development of both prediabetes and gestational diabetes. Females delivering babies who weigh over nine pounds are likely to suffer from diabetes as well. Additionally, it is tremendously common practice when the woman affected by polycystic ovary syndrome develops the symptoms of diabetes. In spite of the fact that gestational diabetes usually lasts no more than nine months during pregnancy, it is a significant risk factor for the potential development of type 2 diabetes. Therefore, it is essential to approach the issue of pregnancy in advance to prevent the negative impact on the health of a newborn and future mother.
Scientists and clinicians have been taking appropriate measures in order to manage the condition and improve glucose absorption for numerous decades. Subsequently, evidence-based information has been successfully transformed into effective preventative programs reducing the number of potential diabetes cases throughout the whole country. Currently, it is predicted that around twenty-five million Americans could have prevented the development of type 2 diabetes (Punthakee et al.). This number includes people who are not aware that their health is affected by diabetes. Considering that approximately ninety percent of diabetes cases are potentially preventable, the goal of decreasing the number of patients suffering from this form of metabolic disorder can be successfully achieved (Punthakee et al.). Consequently, diabetes prevention is considered one of the most researched areas of healthcare at the moment.
The majority of recommendations regarding the prevention of diabetes are based on a modification of lifestyle choices. Therefore, the patients should take responsibility for their health, whereas health providers are required to inform people at risk of facing diabetes about the importance of maintaining a positive lifestyle. One of the main strategies to prevent this chronic disease is losing weight. As an integral part of any diabetes prevention program, weight control is also important for preventing other health issues, such as heart disease, arthritis, and some types of cancer.
Usually, doctors recommend patients lose around ten percent of their overall weight in order to reduce the chances of facing diabetes (Punthakee et al.). However, the main issue associated with this prevention strategy is that numerous individuals are not able to keep their weight. In other words, the person can lose twenty pounds, although they gain this weight back in a short time. To avoid these problems, doctors are required to develop comprehensive weight loss plans that involve easy-to-follow recommendations in order to avoid weight gain.
Furthermore, healthy nutrition plays an important role in the process of diabetes prevention among all individuals regardless of their age, gender, or ethnic background. Taking into account that weight loss and the quality of nutrition are interrelated, healthcare providers consider food as an essential tool for the prevention of chronic diseases. In the case of diabetes, doctors recommend reducing the number of calories by including vegetables, whole grains, fruits, and healthy protein in daily nutrition. Also, it is vital to replace sugary drinks with water, coffee, or tea. A healthy diet should be low in fat and salt, which is why it is usually recommended to limit red meat and processed meats. For example, to prevent diabetes of any type, people can eat hard-boiled eggs, avocado, beef sticks, yogurt with berries, as well as veggies, and hummus.
Physical activity is another essential element of each diabetes prevention plan. Physically inactive individuals are two times more likely to suffer from diabetes than people who are doing sports regularly (CDC). In case the person has poor understanding regarding the types of exercises that are the best for them, it is recommended to consult with the health care professional. On average, clinicians highlight that thirty minutes of physical activity five days a week are beneficial for reducing the risk of suffering from diabetes in the future (Punthakee et al.). For instance, walking, cycling, swimming, and dancing are tremendously effective for decreasing insulin resistance.
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The lack of sleep and stress also increase the risk of experiencing diabetes. In order to prevent diabetes, people are recommended to get adequate sleep of at least seven hours per day (Punthakee et al.). In the context of stress reduction, patients can take into consideration yoga, leisure activities, and improvement of the work-life balance. At the same time, it is important to quit smoking and alcohol consumption, as these habits increase the chances of developing type 2 diabetes by thirty percent (CDC). In fact, these activities cause inflammation and oxidative stress, which results in the development of diabetes. In addition to common preventative measures, some people should be served with individual recommendations. Accordingly, the process of diabetes prevention should always begin by making an appointment with a healthcare professional. In turn, this person will take appropriate measures to perform tests and prescribe medication in order to manage the disease.
Diagnosis of diabetes is a complex process that is based on several crucial steps. The American Diabetes Association provides recommendations regarding people that should be screened for this chronic disease. At present time, these people are the ones with a body mass index higher than twenty-five and aged over forty-five (Chatterjee and Davies). Furthermore, individuals who have been diagnosed with prediabetes and gestational diabetes are considered for screenings.
To determine if the health of a person is affected by diabetes, the glycated hemoglobin (A1C) test is used in the first place. The main benefit of this test is the opportunity to identify the average blood sugar level for the past several months. The results are usually interpreted by the healthcare specialist in clinical settings. The person is diagnosed with diabetes if an A1C level is higher than six and a half percent on two separate tests (Chatterjee and Davies). In turn, the test level between 5.7 and 6.4% can be interpreted as prediabetes, whereas other results are considered normal.
If this test cannot be performed due to certain reasons, healthcare specialists have the opportunity to use a mix of other diagnostic tools. For instance, random blood sugar tests or fasting blood sugar tests can be used to determine sugar levels in the blood. Moreover, healthcare providers frequently use the oral glucose tolerance test to determine the body’s response to sugar. In this case, the patient is not allowed to drink and consume food eight hours before the test (Chatterjee and Davies). To diagnose a woman with gestational diabetes, the doctor is likely to use an initial glucose challenge test that is usually followed by glucose tolerance testing. Once the person is diagnosed with any type of diabetes, the healthcare specialists will develop an appropriate treatment plan to manage the symptoms of this health issue.
Treatment and Possible Complications
In the present circumstances, healthcare specialists are offered the opportunity to use a variety of medical therapies and approaches to treat diabetes. Considering that each person is affected by this chronic disease differently, treatment options also vary. All individuals suffering from type 1 diabetes are required to take insulin regularly. It can be done with the help of injections or by using a pump. Lifelong insulin therapy can be based on either short-acting insulin or long-acting insulin, which depends on each specific case. Additionally, patients who struggle with type 1 diabetes are frequently prescribed to take high blood pressure medications, aspirin, and cholesterol-lowering drugs (Tan et al.). At the same time, the therapy includes frequent blood sugar monitoring, healthy nutrition, as well as regular physical activity. If at least one element of the therapy is ignored, the disease is predicted to progress with time.
Type 2 diabetes differs from other types of this disease when it comes to causes, which is why treatment options for this form of metabolic disorder are also different. Some patients diagnosed with type 2 diabetes require medication to manage blood sugar levels, whereas others can enjoy high-quality life by only making some lifestyle changes. In case the person still needs insulin, healthcare specialists are likely to prescribe metformin (Tan et al.). However, there are other options that can be used to treat certain symptoms of diabetes. In order to put this disease into remission, healthcare providers can offer patients the opportunity to use obesity surgery procedures. Lastly, a healthy diet and physical activity are usually included in the treatment plan of individuals suffering from this health issue.
The main purpose of all treatment therapies is to lower glucose levels in the blood of patients. However, if the person ignores signs of this disease or healthcare specialists use inappropriate treatment options, diabetes can lead to severe health complications. For example, long-term problems include retinopathy, foot problems, heart disease, nephropathy, nerve damage, and some types of cancer. One of the most common complications experienced by patients suffering from diabetes is blood vessel damage. In fact, high glucose levels affect them, which is why the blood cannot be transported to some parts of the body. As a result, the person can lose feelings in some body parts, such as legs or hands. In some cases, untreated diabetes can lead to death. Hence, this chronic disease should be diagnosed and treated on time.
Presently, chronic issues are considered a major health threat to the entire planet. Nevertheless, the healthcare industry develops rapidly, thereby offering people the opportunity to minimize the effect of severe disease on the overall well-being of patients. Therefore, chronic health issues, such as diabetes, can be successfully treated if they are diagnosed punctually. Today, diabetes is still regarded as the seventh leading cause of death in the U.S., although appropriate measures are taken to address this problem. For example, numerous diagnostic tools and treatment therapies have been developed in the past several decades. Currently, clinicians have a deep understanding of different types of diabetes, causes, risk factors, symptoms, and complications associated with this disease. Thus, it is predicted that the rates of deaths caused by this condition will significantly decrease in the nearest future throughout the whole world.
Millions of people are estimated to be affected by diabetes in spite of their age, gender, and ethnic background. In turn, obesity, bad habits, poor nutrition, and the lack of physical activity considerably increase the chances of being diagnosed with diabetes. The person can live with this disease for a long time without experiencing severe symptoms. Nevertheless, the majority of people still face increased hunger, frequent urination, extreme fatigue, and weight loss. Once any of these symptoms are noticed, it is tremendously essential to make an appointment with a doctor. The healthcare specialist will perform appropriate tests to determine if the person should be diagnosed with diabetes. If the person is diagnosed with this chronic health issue, the best treatment options will be offered. If the recommendations are followed, the patient is expected to live a long and healthy life.
The percentage of people suffering from diabetes has increased lately due to the sedentary lifestyle that is selected by many individuals. With the advancement of innovative technologies, the global population has replaced physical activities and adequate sleep with the use of gadgets. As a result, the overall health status of people has worsened. These trends in the area of healthcare have encouraged clinicians to promote healthy lifestyles through different communication channels. It has helped to increase the levels of awareness in terms of diabetes prevention across the globe. First, in order to prevent any type of diabetes, it is important to improve nutrition by adding vegetables, whole grains, fruits, and healthy protein to the diet. Second, it is recommended to increase physical activity. For instance, thirty minutes of physical activity five days a week is extremely beneficial for preventing a variety of health issues. Stress reduction also plays a vital role in the context of diabetes prevention.
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Bettencourt-Silva, Rita et al. “Diabetes-Related Symptoms, Acute Complications and Management of Diabetes Mellitus of Patients Who Are Receiving Palliative Care: A Protocol for A Systematic Review”. BMJ Open, vol 9, no. 6, 2019, p. e028604. BMJ. Web.
Chatterjee, Sudesna, and Melanie J. Davies. “Accurate Diagnosis of Diabetes Mellitus and New Paradigms of Classification”. Nature Reviews Endocrinology, vol 14, no. 7, 2018, pp. 386-387. Springer Science and Business Media LLC. Web.
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