Before the twentieth century, type 2 diabetes was considered a rare disease (Tatterstall, 2019). This condition has become a problem in public health due to it becoming increasingly common over the past several decades (Brian, 2019). Diabetes was linked with over-eating, and nineteenth century clinicians distinguished between diabetes in the young and thin versus the middle aged and overweight (Gale, 2012).
Now, millions of Americans are affected by this disease daily because of genetics and poor eating. It usually starts as insulin resistance where the pancreas slowly loses the ability to produce insulin. Then, it turns into type 2 diabetes, which is also linked with older age, obesity, family history, physical activity, and race/ethnicity (CDC, 2011). These factors play an integral role and can explain why a person contracted the condition. The past decade, numbers of cases have increased largely, with children and adolescents getting the disease as well (CDC, 2011). This was a huge part of why this disease needed to be addressed in the public health field.
Former first lady Michelle Obama started a program in 2010 called “Let’s Move”. Her plan was to help bring down America’s obesity rates for kids all over the country. Obesity is a key factor in developing type 2 diabetes and could be the difference in whether or not one has the disease (Barry, 2015). Research proved that obesity rates had actually began to decrease after Obama started implementing this policy (Childhood Obesity, 2017). It brought awareness to people all over the country and showed them the dangers of obesity. It also showed that a lifestyle change can prevent you from a life-long chronic illness. Policy can create movements and awareness like this, which can be the simple change is a person’s life that saves them from a lifetime of pain.
With the increase of cases, it makes it easier to understand why diabetes became such a public health concern (Wu, 2019). Now that Americans are aware of causes to this disease, it will make it easier to prevent and manage this condition. It may be manageable, but no one wants to live with this life-long disease. It is managed by yourself hopefully support from family and health care providers. There is not a cure yet, but losing weight, eating healthy food, and being active can be key steps into prevent this disease (CDC, 2019). Taking medication as needed and being aware of body are also ways to stay informed and a positive step into not getting diabetes (Egede, 2018).
Diabetes is a serious disease that can often be managed through diet, physical activity, and insulin use. The prevalence of type two diabetes had significantly increased over the past decade (CDC, 2019). In adults, type 2 diabetes accounts for approximately 95% of all cases of diabetes (CDC, 2015). Moreover, 29.1 million people in the United States have diabetes, but 8.1 million may be undiagnosed and therefore unaware of their condition because one can go years without knowing due to being asymptomatic (Healthline, 2017). Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States (CDC, 2019). The mortality rate in 2019 was 46.5 per 100,000 for type 2 diabetes (CDC, 2019). These numbers had shown growth over the past 5 years.
Along with other chronic diseases, ethnicity could possibly play a role in increasing one’s risk of developing diabetes, especially type 2 (DMP, 2015). Diabetes is most common in American Indian and Alaska natives at 15.1% (Berry, 2019). Non-Hispanic blacks follow with 12.7% (Berry, 2019). The third most common group is Hispanics at 12.1% (Berry, 2019). The CDC has even led a National Diabetes Prevention Program which is when public and private organizations work together to deliver lifestyle changes and help delay/prevent type 2 diabetes (CDC, 2017).
However, certain racial and ethnic minority groups have become participants in the program at lower percentages than other groups joining despite a higher risk of developing the disease (CDC, 2019). Moreover, the CDC has also funded 10 national organizations to start new in-person programs in areas that have less access to such treatment (CDC, 2017).
There is also a Native Diabetes Wellness Program that helps promote and prevent type 2 diabetes among Native Americans who are at a higher risk compared to others. This program gives assistance to the wellness of those in need as well as collecting and telling stories about traditional food, promoting healthy eating habits and a proper amount of physical activity for children, and issuing helpful resources to those in need (CDC, 2017).
According to the CDC, 79,535 deaths occur each year due to diabetes. The number of fatalities related to diabetes may be underreported (CDC, 2019). When comparing education level among races, non-Hispanic blacks with less than a high school education had the highest mortality rate at 225 per 1,000 (Saydah & Lochner, 2010). As far as income level, Hispanics with the lowest income level had the highest mortality rate at 190 per 1,000, and men with the lowest income levels followed at 170 per 1,000 (Saydah & Lochner, 2010).
Even with the same access to care, lower income individuals with type 2 diabetes have greater risk of death than those with higher income and education (American College of Cardiology, 2016). The diabetes related death for those with less than a high school education was about 2.5 times than that of those with a college degree or higher level of education (Saydah & Lochner, 2010).
In today’s society, the number of individuals that live with type 2 diabetes has increased and become much more prevalent, especially in the American population (CDC, 2019). Risk factors of this disease include being overweight, inactivity, family history, race, and age. The most prevalent factor is being overweight, but you don’t necessarily have to be overweight to develop it (CDC, 2019). Obviously, the less active a person is, the more prone they are to develop this disease (CDC, 2019).
Maintaining one’s physical activity is one way to lower one’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes It is more common for people of certain races such as black, Hispanic, American Indian, and Asian-American to develop type 2 diabetes compared to white people (Mayo Clinic, 2019). Lastly, age is a determining factor of this disease. As people age, they have a higher advantage of developing type 2 diabetes. This is because exercise amounts decrease and typically, weight is gained. (Mayo Clinic, 2019).
Differences between health status or access to health care among racial, ethnic, geographic, and socioeconomic groups are referred to as health disparities (CDC, 2017). Education also plays a role in diabetes diagnosis and prevalence. People with lowest level of education are more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes had less than a high school education, whereas 7.2% had more than a high school education (CDC, 2017). Individuals with lower income are much more likely to have an all caused cardiovascular or diabetes related death, 71-87% greater than those with a high income (American College of Cardiology, 2016).
Diabetes is also geographically distributed more in the southern region of the US than any other region, which makes southerners more likely to have to develop this disease (CDC, 2017).
Diabetes can be easily controlled when it is diagnosed early, but when the disease is untreated and not caught in time, damage within the body is very likely (Healthline, 2017).
Type 2 diabetes can lead to damaged kidneys by affecting their ability to do their job. (Healthline, 2017). It can also further develop into kidney disease that may not show up until its later stages, which can lead to kidney failure. Type 2 diabetes also raises one’s risk of developing high blood pressure which is hard the heart. More specifically, having high blood glucose levels can damage the blood vessel walls and can start to restrict blood flow through the blood vessels (Healthline, 2017).
Type 2 diabetes also causes damage to specific nerves throughout the body. It can progress and start affecting an individual’s perception of heat, cold, and pain (Healthline, 2017). It can also lead a person to be more susceptible to injury and develop into more serious conditions.
Overall, Type 2 diabetes is becoming much more prevalent in today’s society and needs to a problem people are concerned with. The United States has such a problem with growing numbers and they continue to grow. Type 2 diabetes used to only be prevalent in adults and now it is so common in young children. There are ways to prevent this disease and ways to take care of the issue. Because of the growing numbers, maintaining physical activity and healthy choices are a few steps in the right direction for preventing this wild spreading disease.