Insulin and American Diabetes Association
Diabetes is an endocrine disease that affects the blood sugars of individuals throughout the United States. It is one of the leading causes of death. There are three different types of diabetes: type 1 diabetes, gestational diabetes, and type 2 diabetes.
Hispanics are the second highest minority diagnosed with diabetes. Hispanics are less likely to seek medical care because of cultural beliefs and lack of insurance. There is also a genetic link to Hispanics and diabetes.
“Type 1 diabetes, once known as juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes, is a chronic condition in which the pancreas produces little or no insulin, a hormone needed to allow sugar (glucose) to enter cells to produce energy” (Mayo Clinic, 2013). This diabetes is common during adolescence but is possible during adulthood. There is no cure for type 1 diabetes but there are medicines that can help an individual that is dealing with this disease. Signs and symptoms for type 1 diabetes is increased thirst, frequent urination, hunger, weight loss, fatigue, and blurred vision. (Mayo Clinic, 2013)
Risk factors for type 1 diabetes are famlial history, location, genetics, and viral exposure. “Exposure to Epstein-Barr virus, coxsackievirus, mumps virus or cytomegalovirus may trigger the autoimmune destruction of the islet cells, or the virus may directly infect the islet cells” (Mayo Clinic, 2013). Gestational diabetes occurs during pregnancy. It is when sugar levels are high because the “body is not able to produce and use all the insulin it needs during pregnancy” . The cause of gestational diabetes is still unknown.
Pregnant women are usually tested for gestational diabetes between 24 to 28 weeks but doctors could recommend early testing if the pregnant woman shows signs of diabetes. If it is not controlled, the unborn child could be affected by the high sugar levels. The glucose passes through the placenta and causes the baby’s pancreas to produce more insulin to help control the sugar levels. The increase of energy that the glucose gives the unborn child is too much so instead of the baby using it up, it is stored as fat. This increase of fat may cause macrosomia.
Macrosomia may cause problems during delivery because it increases the baby’s weight and size. Also, “the extra insulin that the baby’s pancreas makes may cause newborns to have very low blood glucose levels at birth and are also at higher risk for breathing problems” . According to American Diabetes Association (2013), babies that are born with low levels of sugar are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes later in life. “Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition that affects the way your body metabolize sugar (glucose)”.
When an individual has type 2 diabetes their body does not produce enough insulin or their body ignores the insulin it has produced. This is commonly in adulthood but there is an increased of cases in adolescent because of the obesity is increasing. If type 2 diabetes is untreated, it can be life threatening or cause other health complications. Some complications that may occur are heart disease, neuropathy, nephropathy, eye damage, foot damage, osteoporosis, and Alzheimer’s disease. “An individual can manage the condition by eating well, exercising and maintaining a healthy weight” .
Risk factors that will contribute to a individual getting type 2 diabetes are their weight, fat distribution, inactivity, familial history, race, age, and if they had gestational diabetes or prediabetes. “Prediabetes is a condition in which your blood glucose levels is higher than normal, but not too high to be classified as diabetes” . Race plays a factor in type 2 diabetes. African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, and Asian American (Pacific Islanders) are more susceptible to it. According to the American Diabetes Association (2013), there are 25.8 million children and adults in the United States living with diabetes.
Of those 25. 8 million people 11. 8% of them are Hispanics. Hispanics have a higher rate because of their lack of access to quality health care, social and cultural factors, or genetics. “The United States Department of Health and Human Services estimates 1 out of every 3 Hispanics do not have health insurance” . Without health insurance Hispanics are least likely to visit doctors for preventive care. This increases their chances to developing a disease that could have been prevented with correct treatment or changes in life style.
“Hispanics are raised to be self-reliant, which may be the reason 42% of them say they have had zero visit to a medical provider” . “Many Hispanic parents feel guilty about putting their own health needs above those of their families and they feel their time and money could be better spent than using it for preventive care” . They did not go to see the doctor until they are very ill or they use house remedies to help with their illnesses. Sometimes, house remedies worked temporary and then the illnesses comes back stronger than before.
At this time, Hispanics might seek professional help. If they do seek medical attention, the doctors find array of illnesses. The doctors attention to the more severe ones and ask them to go back. Since, Hispanics are less likely to see the doctors when they believe they are healthy, they will not go back for a follow-up. Then the cycle may start all over again. A culture factor is Hispanics perceive their weight different than other cultures. “The researchers found about 25% of the overweight Hispanic women perceive their weight as “normal” when in fact they are overweight” .
The Hispanic culture perceives curves as an attractive feature in women. They are blind to the fact that the curves may be a sign of illnesses such as diabetes. Since Hispanics have a high rate of individuals with diabetes, the predisposition of their family members of being diagnose with diabetes is much higher. Studies have shown that when a youth is diagnosed with diabetes there is a 45%-80% chance that one of their parents has diabetes and 74-100% has a first or second degree relative with type 2 diabetes .
Diabetes is an illness that greatly affects the Hispanic culture. There are organizations that are trying to create programs to help families and individuals deal with it. The “National Council for La Raza are focusing their efforts on implementing more healthy shopping programs like the “Comprando Rico y Sano” (Buying Delicious and Healthy) to help Hispanics make healthier and more economical choices when grocery shopping”. The National Diabetes Prevention Programs is focusing more on finding ways for the prevention of diabetes by getting agencies to help with the cause.
They “encourage collaboration among federal agencies, community-based organizations, employers, insurers, health care professionals, academia, and other stakeholders to prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes among people with prediabetes in the United States”. Diabetes is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. It could easily be prevented by making healthy life changes such as losing weight and eating healthy. If a person is diagnosed with diabetes, they needed to take measures to help control their condition and make a better choice when it comes to their health.