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Prevalence of Diabetes Mellitus in Low-Income Communities: An Ethical Aspect

The prevalence of diabetes mellitus is increasing worldwide every day. The causes of the growth in disease are complex, but the main ones are partly due to a large number of overweight people, including those with obesity, partly to low-quality food. The condition causes several social complications: a constant rise in the number of patients, the chronic nature of the disease, which leads to the reduction of life expectancy with the deterioration of its quality. In recent years, it has been considered not only as a severe disease but also as an essential medical and social problem, which is today very relevant in all countries of the world.

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Diabetes mellitus is a metabolic disease in which the body lacks insulin, and the blood sugar content exceeds its norm. Blood sugar is necessary because when it splits, the body’s cells get energy. For glucose to penetrate cells, the hormone insulin is needed. It is produced by the pancreas. Due to the failures of this organ and lack of insulin, sugar accumulates in the blood, and cells do not receive energy. It causes a condition called hyperglycemia, which is dangerous for almost all systems of the body.

There is a relationship between well-being and the spread of common diseases does exist. Diabetes mellitus is an incurable disease, so it is crucial to carry out prevention, and in case of the first symptoms, to turn to endocrinologists. The condition requires control and a thoughtful approach throughout life with significant financial expenses. For the patient, the main thing is to learn managing diabetes with the doctor’s help so that the illness does not interfere with normal life. The more a person knows about the disease, the better he or she learns elementary techniques of control of this condition and competently corrects, with the help of diet, blood sugar level. Endocrinologists around the world believe that the best prevention of diabetes is a healthy lifestyle, which contributes to the preservation of health and full life.

Poor quality of life leads to widespread diabetes mellitus, especially among low-income communities. The gap in access to treatment of this disease leads to harmful and often irreversible health effects. Due to a lack of resources and a large number of patients, doctors cannot achieve a reduction in the prevalence of the disease (Chow et al., 2018). It creates an ethical dilemma that is not sufficiently studied. These contradictions with the standard requirements to the quality of citizens’ life, in particular the universal accessibility of medical services, continue to arise due to the low income of part of the population today (Basu & Sharma, 2018). For these reasons, there is a need to recognize the lack of available resources and to seek solutions.

Thus, the poor cannot afford quality products to compile a useful diet to prevent disease. Moreover, they cannot afford a doctor’s visit and medicines necessary for treatment. Guided by a deontological approach or rules-based ethics, the government must take care of each of its citizens, accepting their equality (Mandal et al., 2016). It initially undertakes to provide citizens with equal access to health services. It means ensuring social equality among all members of society. However, it is usually not economically beneficial for the whole country. In any state, there is a contradiction between the economic and social components of health services. One of the problems of the American system of medicine is the lack of availability of health services for those who do not have private health insurance due to unemployment or low wages.

To solve this problem, severe restrictions must be imposed at the level of state and local government. Hustead (2018) emphasizes the importance of cooperation between representatives of all stakeholders in making long-term decisions. Even more critical factor is the work of local authorities (Gittelsohn & Trude, 2017). In terms of transformational leadership, its representatives need to work closely with low-income communities (Barr & Dowding, 2019). There is a need to raise their awareness of the disease, its dangers, and possible ways of its prevention. On the level of the state government, it could be, for example, control of the content of fats and sugar in products by particular standards so that the population could always choose healthier food. More competent urban planning can force citizens to ride a bicycle and walk. Moreover, entrepreneurs should be responsible for the quality of food and should not advertise harmful food.

Thus, the number of people who have diabetes is continuously increasing and maintaining normal life and activity with this disease requires significant financial waste. It leads to the need to prevent the illness through proper nutrition and adherence to healthy lifestyle principles. The prevalence of diabetes mellitus among the poor is particularly relevant, as it is often not possible for them to purchase quality products and observe a diet. It creates an ethical dilemma that requires the attention of the authorities. With a well-thought-out approach and close cooperation of medical personnel, representatives of the underserved population, local authorities, progress can be made on this issue. It is necessary for the security and maintenance of an adequate standard of living for citizens.

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Barr, J., & Dowding, L. (2019). Leadership in health care. Sage Publications Limited.

Basu, S., & Sharma, N. (2018). Under-recognised ethical dilemmas of diabetes care in resource-poor settings. Indian J Med Ethics, 3(4), 324-326.

Chow, C. K., Ramasundarahettige, C., Hu, W., AlHabib, K. F., Avezum, A., Cheng, X., … Yusuf, S. (2018). Availability and affordability of essential medicines for diabetes across high-income, middle-income, and low-income countries: A prospective epidemiological study. The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology, 6(10), 798-808.

Gittelsohn, J., & Trude, A. (2017). Diabetes and obesity prevention: Changing the food environment in low-income settings. Nutrition Reviews, 75(Suppl. 1), 62–69.

Hustead, E. (2018). Team Science and Transformational Leadership in the Healthcare Field. Leadership in Healthcare and Public Health. Web.

Mandal, J., Ponnambath, D. K., & Parija, S. C. (2016). Utilitarian and deontological ethics in medicine. Tropical parasitology, 6(1), 5.

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