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Diabetes mellitus (DM) is one of the common metabolic disorders affecting many citizens in the United States and across the globe. This chronic condition is divided into these two categories: type I and type II. DM type I is usually associated with autoimmune destruction of the beta cells in the pancreas, which are responsible for the production of insulin. Those affected by the condition should receive adequate insulin in order to survive.
DM type II occurs when there is insulin deficiency and/or resistance in the body. The purpose of this research study is to examine how and why diabetes has become a major health problem in America’s urban population. Specifically, this paper will examine how many people in metropolitan cities contract this disease, its leading factors and symptoms, and the most appropriate treatment methods. The discussion will also examine the cost of treating diabetes.
How People in Cities Contract Diabetes
The latest findings by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive Kidney Diseases (NIH) revealed that over 30 million American citizens were living with diabetes (Zimmet). In 2018, the CDC went further to indicate that around 7.2 million people in different parts of the United States were living with undiagnosed diabetes (Rege). The highest rates of this chronic condition are currently found among individuals from minority racial groups.
The elderly were also observed to record increased cases of this condition. Past studies have mainly focused on the prevalence of diabetes types I and II in underserved populations and rural communities. Recently, analysts and social workers have indicated that diabetes remains one of the leading health challenges in different urban areas across the country. This is the reason why there is a need for all parties and organizations to collaborate and eventually address this health predicament.
The relationship between urban lifestyle and diabetes is an area that is attracting the attention of many health practitioners, dieticians, and social workers. Individuals living in metropolitans are predisposed to numerous health complications, including obesity, diabetes, stroke, and cancer (Zimmet). This means that there are certain aspects or conditions that explain how such individuals contract this chronic condition. In a study by Yang et al., it was revealed that many people living in metropolitan cities led unhealthy lifestyles (228). Such malpractice was making it impossible for them to engage in a number of activities, including exercises.
The majority of them use cars, trains, or buses to meet their transportation needs. They also walk for very short distances, thereby exposing themselves to obesity. These are some of the risk factors for the development of diabetes.
Many urban areas are crowded and characterized by inappropriate surroundings. This means that citizens living in different American cities are exposed to polluted gases and chemicals that increase their chances of developing various health complications. The absence of adequate playing grounds explains why such dwellers are forced to lead sedentary lifestyles (Yang et al. 230). Consequently, the number of people living with diabetes types I and II will continue to rise in different metropolitan cities across the United States.
Many researchers have tackled the issue of diet in an attempt to understand how and why urbanization is currently associated with increased levels of diabetes. For example, Rege realized that many people living in urban areas were consuming large quantities of junk foodstuffs. This means that they eat foods containing fats, sugars, and carbohydrates. Such unhealthy practices predispose more people to obesity and other opportunistic diseases, such as diabetes. Any effort aimed at addressing this health challenge should, therefore, begin by tackling the problem of dietary intake.
Urban areas are characterized by inequalities, congestion, and poor economic outcomes. Individuals from minority or underprivileged backgrounds find it hard to acquire adequate financial resources to meet their needs. Most of the people affected by such predicaments come from families who have histories of diabetes (Rege). Consequently, they develop this condition and eventually lead unhealthy lifestyles.
Another possible explanation for the increasing levels of diabetes in urban areas is the absence of proper mechanisms and programs to empower more people (Zimmet). This challenge is associated with the increasing levels of congestion. Additionally, many urban areas do not benefit from the functions and roles of community health and social workers. Consequently, the affected dwellers lack adequate knowledge and resources that can guide them to tackle the problem of diabetes.
Factors and Symptoms of Diabetes
There are various risk factors for diabetes mellitus that people should always take seriously. This means that the underlying cause of every type of diabetes will vary from person A to B. However, the common aspect of DM is that it eventually results in increased sugar levels in the body. The elevated quantity of glucose in the blood will trigger various health complications. The first risk factor for this condition is overweight or obesity. The cells of people with increased fatty tissue tend to become insulin resistant. This is the reason why physical activities are recommended to individuals who are at risk of developing diabetes (Chong et al. 47). The absence of exercise is another outstanding risk factor for diabetes. People who smoke and drink alcohol are at risk of developing this health condition.
Family history is another risk factor for DM. People whose relatives had DM tend to have increased chances of developing it. The race is also a critical factor since there are specific groups or populations that record increased cases of diabetes, such as African Americans, Hispanics, and Asian Americans (Rege). Age is another factor that analysts and researchers consider when focusing on the diabetes epidemic. Chong et al. indicate that elderly citizens and those above the age of 50 are usually at a higher risk of developing this condition (48). High blood pressure is another potential trigger for this medical condition.
Diabetes presents unique symptoms depending on the percentage of sugar in the blood. Those affected by DM type I tend to experience symptoms much faster. There are specific signs and symptoms observed in individuals who have both types I and type II DM. The common ones include extreme hunger, sudden or unexplained weight loss, frequent urination, increased thirst, irritability, slow-healing sores, blurred vision, and fatigue. The presence of ketones in a person’s urine can be a sign of diabetes. These are byproducts of the breakdown of fats and muscles occurring in the body due to the absence of insulin (Mendenhall 42).
Another important issue people should take into consideration is the nature and development of diabetes. DM type I can develop at any age after birth. However, it is usually recorded during adolescence or childhood (Mendenhall 59). Although DM type II is common in persons about the age of 40, it can still emerge at any given age.
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Treatment and Cost
Health practitioners classify DM as one of the chronic diseases that all affected patients should find evidence-based strategies to manage. There are various strategies that people can use to treat or live with this condition for the rest of their lives. Those who have diabetes type I should receive daily injections of insulin to keep the level of blood glucose in check. This hormone is useful since it helps the body absorb and convert consumed food into energy (Chong et al. 47). Patients who fail to get their daily injections will die within a short period.
Those suffering from DM type II can manage the condition without necessarily having to take drugs or insulin. The main objective is to ensure that their blood glucose levels are within a healthy range. One of the evidence-based initiatives people consider to manage this condition is that of losing weight. Additionally, patients should focus on the best approaches to monitor their body mass indexes (BMIs). They should also consider meal plans that can minimize the amount of sugar in the body. Mendenhall goes further to indicate that exercises and weight control measures might be unable to manage their blood glucose levels (92).
This kind of knowledge explains why there are various oral medications and insulin injections available for persons who have this kind of diabetes. It is appropriate for the affected individuals to liaise with their physicians and dieticians if they are to record positive results (Zimmet). With proper treatment procedures and medications, the chances are high that the affected persons will overcome most of the challenges or complications associated with type II diabetes, including eye disease, kidney failure, and heart attack.
The first medication for treating type II DM is called Metformin. The common types include Glumetza and Glucophage. These drugs work by lowering the amount of glucose produced by life. It also boosts the body’s sensitivity to insulin. Sulfonylureas are also useful since they help the body of the affected patient to secrete more insulin. Meglitinides stimulate the human pancreases to release more insulin. Thiazolidinediones are also important because they reduce the chances of gaining weight (Mendenhall 103). However, they trigger various side effects, including anemia and heart failure. SGLT2 inhibitors are also essential because they prevent the kidney from absorbing high quantities of sugar or glucose. Insulin therapy is also recommendable since it provides numerous positive effects.
The cost of treating diabetes per patient is quite high. Yang et al. indicate that people who have this condition have to spend around 13,700 US dollars annually (231). However, around 8,000 US dollars go directly to the treatment and management of diabetes. Such a high cost explains why the government should implement evidence-based strategies and programs to deal with this health predicament and ensure that all patients achieve their potential.
The above research paper has revealed that diabetes mellitus is a terminal condition that continues to affect many American citizens in different urban areas. The discussion has outlined smoking, alcoholism, sedentary lifestyle, and inappropriate diet as some of the leading causes of diabetes. It is, therefore, appropriate for the government to implement appropriate programs, policies, and initiatives to address this health predicament. Urban dwellers at risk of developing this condition should engage in exercises, eat balanced diets, and avoid smoking. Patients should also embrace insulin therapy and take drugs in order to lead high-quality lives.
Chong, Shanley, et al. “Lifestyle Changes After a Diagnosis of Type 2 Diabetes.” Spectrum, vol. 30, no. 1, 2017, pp. 43-50.
Mendenhall, Emily. Syndemic Suffering: Social Distress, Depression, and Diabetes among Mexican Immigrant Women. 2nd ed., Routledge, 2016.
Rege, Alyssa. “CDC: Top 10 Cities with Highest Percentage of Adults with Diabetes.” Becker’s Hospital Review, 2017. Web.
Yang, Wenya, et al. “Diabetes Diagnosis and Management Among Insured Adults Across Metropolitan Areas in the U.S.” Preventive Medicine Reports, vol. 10, no. 1, 2018, pp. 227-233.
Zimmet, Paul Z. “Diabetes and Its Drivers: The Largest Epidemic in Human History?” Clinical Diabetes and Endocrinology, vol. 3, no. 1, 2017. Web.