I have chosen diabetes in the elderly as a topic for my community teaching project mainly because it is a very important and urgent problem in the health care systems of most countries. Its prevalence rates double every 10-15 years, and in 2015 more than 5 million deaths were attributed to diabetes (Stanhope & Lancaster, 2019, p. 68). Despite the efforts made by health care organizations around the world, the number of people with diabetes is expected to grow in the future.
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Over the past decades, the age structure of the population has changed significantly. Global wars have ended, most dangerous infections have been defeated, and the quality of life in most countries has generally improved. All this led to a significant increase in life expectancy and in the share of the elderly population in the demographic structure of most developed countries. The aging population is the main reason for the increase in the number of patients with diabetes. According to the third revision of the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III), the prevalence of type 2 diabetes is 4-9% at the age of 50-60. It reaches its maximum values (20-22% in women and 14-24% in men) at the age of 60 (Selvin et al., 2017). Thus, the elderly population currently is and will continue to be at higher risk of developing diabetes.
Moreover, this problem is aggravated by difficulties in the timely diagnosis of diabetes in the elderly, because the course of the disease can be asymptomatic, and patients may not show any clinical symptoms. Often, type 2 diabetes is detected by chance during examination for other related diseases. 50-80% of elderly patients with type 2 diabetes have arterial hypertension and dyslipidemia, requiring medical treatment. These are the main reasons why I believe that it is necessary to raise awareness about the problem and inform all segments of the population about the prevention and care measures related to diabetes in the elderly.
Selvin, E., Feinleib, M., Zhang, L., Rohrmann, S., Rifai, N., Nelson, W. G., Dobs, A., Basaria, S., Golden, S. H., & Platz, E. A. (2017). Androgens and diabetes in men: Results from the third national health and nutrition examination survey (NHANES III). Diabetes Care, 30(2), 234-238.
Stanhope, M., & Lancaster, J. (2019). Public health nursing E-book: Population-centered health care in the community (10th ed.). Elsevier Health Sciences.