Public Awareness and Human Disease Essay Example
Health is a very essential aspect of human life. It is the desire of every person to remain healthy and free from diseases. To achieve this target, public awareness is of paramount significance in the fight against diseases like obesity, congestive heart disease, diabetes, cancer and stroke among others. This paper explores diabetes as one of the major causes of death in the United States and allover the world. The paper covers among other facts, causes, symptoms, effects and prevention. The paper however emphasizes the need for public awareness in the fight against any diseases.
Diabetes is considered as the most prevalent dysfunction of the endocrine system of the body which occurs when then body cannot maintain normal insulin levels. According to medical research, the disease affects more than twenty million people in the United States. Diabetes mainly occurs when the body is unable to manufacture enough insulin needed by the body or when the body does not respond to the effects caused by insulin. Diabetes also occurs among pregnant women. It is important to mention that diabetes cannot be fully discussed without the mention of insulin. What is it? Insulin is a body hormone which regulates blood sugar. It also allows the breakdown of glucose so that it can be used by the body in form of energy (Mayo clinic).
Issues of fluctuating sugar levels have been noted to be quite prevalent in the world. Although some of the variations lie within the acceptable range, medical practitioners warn that extreme deviations from the normal level are quite dangerous. There are over 50 million people in the United States with high blood sugar although these have not been classified under diabetes. This condition is referred to as pre-diabetes and does not manifest any symptoms. Nevertheless, the condition is always present before a person develops type 2 of diabetes. It is also important to note that there are conditions which are normally associated with diabetes may begin to be manifested at the pre-diabetes stage of development. It is therefore advisable that those affected with pre-diabetes to seek medical attention as soon as possible (Kahn, 2005). Early identification of these signs is very important in controlling the disease and in dealing with early complications like heart diseases.
Types of Diabetes
Unlike many other diseases, diabetes exists in two forms:
- Type 1 Diabetes
- Type 2 Diabetes
Type 1 Diabetes
This type of diabetes is common in children and young adults (youth) and was initially referred to as juvenile diabetes. Under this condition, the body is usually unable to manufacture insulin which is needed to regulate blood sugar (Marx, 2002). As a result, the body cannot breakdown glucose into energy that is needed to carry out daily activities. According to research findings, this type of diabetes accounts for about 5-10 percent of the total number of people affected with diabetes. This type can be managed with the help of insulin therapy and allow affected individuals to live a normal happy life.
Type 2 Diabetes
It is the most common form of diabetes affecting people in the world. There are million of Americans who have been diagnosed to have these disease with millions of others being at a very high risk of developing it. The prevalence of type 2 diabetes varies among different groups in the United States. It is common among Asian Americans, African Americans, Native Americans, Latinos, Pacific Islanders and among aged people (American Diabetes Association). During this state, there are two conditions which occur. The first possibility is that the body may be producing insufficient insulin or the insulin produced is being ignored by body cells. As a result, the body is unable to regulate body sugar leading to diabetes complications.
As mentioned before, pregnant women are also at risk of developing diabetes. The condition is referred to as gestational diabetes and it affects about 4% of the total number of pregnancies (American Diabetes Association). It has been found that women who get pregnant when they are over twenty five years of age are usually at a higher risk of developing this condition. Other factors which contribute to this include, overweight, diabetic family history or being black, Asian, Hispanic or Native American. Gestational diabetes is always deselected and has to be treated as soon as it is noticed. Untreated gestational diabetes always endangers the life of both the mother and the unborn child. They also have a higher likelihood of developing diabetes 2.
Symptoms and signs of Type 1 diabetes
Type 1 diabetes manifests itself in a number of ways. Affected patients usually experience dehydration. The build up of sugar in the blood usually results into frequent urination. It is through this that the body loses a lot of water leading to dehydration of body cells and body in general. It is also important to note that sugar loss through excess urination imply loss of important body calories. As a result, type 1 victims experience loss of weight. Dehydration also contributes to the loss of water in the body. In addition, people with this type of diabetes usually have extreme hunger (American Diabetes Association). This is because of the insufficient energy because the available sugar cannot be broken down to form energy. As a result, affected people thirst for food while they are eating or immediately after eating. Regardless of the amount of food eaten, energy never reaches those organs and cells in need of it. Fatigue is also common since body cells lack enough sugar. As a result, general tiredness and irritation of the body follows. High blood sugar may also cause body fluids to be pulled from various body parts including eye lenses. This usually results into blurred vision which may worsen if the condition is not treated.
Symptoms and signs of Type 2 diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is the most advanced stage of this disease and is associated with fatal health complications. It is therefore important to be able to identify early signs of diabetes before it advances. Like type 1 diabetes, patients affected which this type of diabetes experience increases thirst, frequent urination and increased hunger which are mainly associated with imbalance in insulin. Other symptoms include but not limited to dry mouth, weight loss, headaches, blurred vision and loss of consciousness in rare cases. Uniqueness with type 2 diabetes is that it is never recognized until health complications occur. It is there possible for a person to have this type without knowing because of the risky complications it causes. Patients who suffer from diabetes 2 also suffer from impotency especially in men (Mayo clinic).
Causes of diabetes
The main cause of diabetes revolves around improper functioning of insulin or the body being unable to respond to insulin, a hormone responsible for the conversion of glucose to energy. In general, diabetes occurs when:
- No insulin is produced by the pancreas
- Insufficient insulin is produced by the pancreas
- The body fails to respond to insulin
Apart from insulin problems, diabetes has also been associated with poor nutritional habits and lack of physical exercises. Many obese Americans have diabetes 2 (American Diabetes Association).
Understanding vulnerability of any health complication and diseases is very important especially in formulation of prevention strategies. This information is quite essential for prevention and diabetes support teams in sensitizing the community. Genetic factors have been closely linked to diabetes 2. It has been found out that people born in families with diabetes history have a higher chance of developing the disease at one point in their lifetime. Other risk factors include but not limited to obesity, high blood pressure, high fat diet, lack of physical exercises, high levels of alcohol intake and high fat level in the blood. Aging has also been viewed as a risk factor with people at the age of 65 years being at higher risk of developing the disease (Mayo clinic). Lastly, ethnic background may render some people more susceptible. These highly susceptible groups include Latinos, Native Americans, Hispanics and African Americans.
Diabetes is a dangerous disease causing millions of death globally. There is every need for every person to be involved in the entire prevention process. Prevention of diabetes begins with continuous monitoring of ones sugar in hospitals or in centers where these services are offered. The second way of diagnosis is the oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT). These tests give direction regarding medication and prevention measures (Mayo clinic). It is therefore important that information be sourced from qualified medical practitioners. Patients with diabetes 1 are usually put on insulin injection dose prescribed by a doctor. In other cases, an insulin pump which is computerized is usually used to administer insulin. Additionally, Exubera was the first inhaled insulin that was approved by FDA in treating type 1 diabetes. On the other hand, proper nutrition is necessary in dealing with diabetes type 2.
Diabetes control tips
As mentioned above, diabetes is a disease which affects both young and aged people in the society. Because of the risk involved, control of diabetes is by far a recommendable measure in ensuring a happy family. Members of the community that are more vulnerable to the disease have to list diabetes control and prevention measures among their priorities. Several researches have indicated that the general lifestyle of a person may be a key predisposing factor of diabetes. As a result, having a healthy lifestyle is quite fundamental in dealing with the scourge. Necessary adjustments have to make in order to stay safe and free from infection threats. It is also important to note that adopting a healthy living is never late (American Diabetes Association). In deed prevention of diabetes infection is as basic as eating healthy and cutting off extra weight. According to the American Diabetes Association, there are a number of steps which need to be taken in controlling Diabetes:
Enough physical activity
Regular physical is highly recommended for every person regardless of whether individuals have high risk factors or not. It has far reaching advantages other than preventing diabetes and other related complications. Although physical exercises may not necessarily lead to lose of excess weight, it has been found to lower blood sugar and increase the sensitivity of the body insulin; which lowers blood sugar (American Diabetes Association). Research has further shown that resistance training aerobic play a role in controlling diabetes although the incorporation of the two produces better results.
Plenty of fiber
Enough fiber in the diet is essential in reducing sugar level in individuals with diabetes or even those at risk of being infected by the disease. As a result, all families are advised to ensure that meals served contain enough fiber. Fiber consumption is also known to reduce the risk of heart attack. It may also be helpful in losing weight since it makes one fill full. Vegetables, whole grains, seeds, beans and nuts are examples of foods with high fiber content. Whole grains are the most recommended fiber foods and every family has to include them during preparation of meals. This lowers the chances of family members developing complications which may lead to diabetes (Mayo clinic).
The Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP)
This was a clinical research that was done in the United States to find out whether good diet, physical exercises and or the use of metformin could be effective in controlling or delaying the onset of diabetes especially among people with IGT. According to the research, there were positive results with the three mentioned elements playing a role in preventing diabetes type 2. However, the response for metformin was lower compared to proper dietary and enough physical exercises. According to DDP, millions of Americans who are the risk of developing the disease can salvage their situations by simple modification of lifestyle. The researchers added that metformin was effective in young and heavy people with almost 58% of the affected people showing positive results. However, these modifications were further found to work better in aged people of above sixty years with almost 71% success (Center for Disease Control).
Another notable prevention program is the HEALTHY study which is sponsored by National Institutes of Health. The program was started in 2006 with an aim of testing a program that would lower the risk of diabetes type 2 infections among students in 42 schools across the country. The schools were assigned to different groups which adopted varying behavior change activities. It was found out that most students from these groups had good choices of foodstuffs and enough time for physical exercise. They students were to be examined for diabetes risk levels after two and a half years (Center for Disease Control). These programs, HEALTHY and DPP are considered to have the most successful ones in preventing diabetes.
Based on the risk associated with diabetes, a prevention program is very important in dealing with the disease. Every member of the community is vulnerable especially young and the aged. Since many people who die of diabetes lack relevant information, what is important is to create diabetes awareness in the entire community. This can be achieved through health seminars organized in various parts of the region organized to educate residents of Kingsland, Georgia on how to deal with diabetes. Diabetes education should also be introduced in school curriculum in order to equip children with relevant information at an early age. Another way of ensuring that the message reaches as many people as possible is through media, say television and radio broadcasts which reach a multitude of people. The use of a famous personality in relaying information can also work well for the program. Such personalities would include medical experts and even comedians to capture the attention of every member of the community. This would go a milestone in educating people about diabetes which is a killer disease that has been ignored by many people in the world. Although there are programs sensitizing people about the disease, more emphasis should be put on reaching as many people as possible to ensure the efficiency of these programs (Center for Disease Control). It has however to be emphasized that the fight against diabetes is a collective responsibility that calls for the input of everybody.