Diabetes was chosen as a topic because of the high percentage of the population that it affects coupled with the fact that it is a relatively preventable disease for most people. It is estimated that nearly five and a half million people in New York City, about a third of the population, have prediabetes, diabetes, and/or diabetes-associated cardiovascular diseases and similar frequencies have been noted throughout the Western world. Diabetes has become the leading cause of death in the region accounting for roughly two-thirds of the deaths and the rates of diabetes has lead this trend to be referred to as the diabetes epidemic (Frieden, 2006). There are a range of different factors that can lead to diabetes but the two main culprits are an improper diet and lack of exercise.
Furthermore, this condition is not reserved for only adults. The number of children who have diagnosed with diabetes is also on the rise. Furthermore, if a child becomes diabetic then there is a strong chance that they fight diabetes throughout adulthood (Dietz & Bellizzi, 1999). There are also research that suggests that the onset of diabetes has environmental influences and parents can transfer nutritional patterns to their children early in life. Some research even suggests that that there is a biological transfer of information that can begin in the postnatal environment (Fernandez-Twinn & Ozanne, 2010). Therefore, it is never too early to start with an outreach or intervention plan because this disease can affect all ages of individuals, even those still in the womb.
There are also a large number of comorbid conditions associated with diabetes an increased likelihood of developing the metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease, and its associated retinal and renal complications, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, obstructive sleep apnea, polycystic ovarian syndrome, infertility, asthma, orthopedic complications, psychiatric disease, and increased rates of cancer, among others (Kelsey, Zaepfel, Bjornstad, & Nadeau, 2014). With the large number of individuals who are being diagnosed with diabetes, coupled with the negative impacts on the quality of life, the exponential growth of diabetes is a major public health concern. Furthermore, the costs associated with treating these conditions can also place a major burden on the health care system in general.
Early detection may be one of the most critical factors in preventing the worst symptoms of diabetes and reaching at-risk populations can help them to prevent the onslaught altogether in some situations. There are many preventative measures that can be taken to prevent or at least stall the onset of diabetes such as diet and exercise. Such interventions are crucial in combatting the risen epidemic of type II diabetes. The evidence-based clinical diagnostic tool that has been researched and adopted in many countries is the HbA1c which is used to identify and diagnose as well as monitor type 2 diabetes. The characteristics of HbA1c include the ability to monitor blood sugar over time and is most appropriate to diagnose a disease that that is known to have chronic hyperglycaemia and a gradual progression to complications (John, Hillson, & Alberti, 2011).
The ideal population to distribute an information sheet on diabetes could literally be just about any population given the prevalence of the disease. However, the sheet will be most effective if the people receiving them actually read them. Therefore, it is reasonable to suspect that a health fair would be an ideal platform to distribute information as this population most likely has a level of motivation that would lead them to put the information to good use.
Facts about Diabetes
Why should you care? Diabetes can hurt you and your loved ones, it is increasing exponentially, and it is preventable.
The number of diagnosed and undiagnosed diabetes in the United States:
Total:29.1 million people or 9.3% of the population have diabetes.
Diagnosed:21.0 million people.
Undiagnosed:8.1 million people (27.8% of people with diabetes are undiagnosed).
Common warning signs of diabetes include:
Increased hunger (especially after eating)
Frequent urination or urine infections
Unexplained weight loss (even though you are eating and feel hungry)
Fatigue (weak, tired feeling)
The earlier you get tested for diabetes, the better your lives could be. The great news for people with pre-diabetes is that most of the experts agree that this condition is reversible with the right nutrition and sufficient levels of physical activity. Even if you are not at risk of becoming diabetic yourself, the odds are that you will likely know someone who is. It is important to understand the warning signs of diabetes as well as get tested regularly. There is a plethora of resources available that can help you develop healthier habits and live fuller lives. Don’t wait, get tested for diabetes today.
Dietz, W., & Bellizzi, M. (1999). Introduction: the use of body mass index to assess obesity in children. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 1235-1255.
Fernandez-Twinn, D., & Ozanne, S. (2010). Early life nutrition and metabolic programming. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 78-96.
Frieden, T. (2006). Diabetes in New York City: Public Health Burden and Disparities. Retrieved from New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene: http://home2.nyc.gov/html/doh/downloads/pdf/epi/diabetes_chart_book.pdf
John, W., Hillson, R., & Alberti, S. (2011). Use of haemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) in the diagnosis of diabetes mellitus. The implementation of World Health Organisation (WHO) guidance . Practical Diabetes, 12-13.
Kelsey, M., Zaepfel, A., Bjornstad, P., & Nadeau, K. (2014). Age-Related Consequences of Childhood Obesity. Age-Related Consequences of Childhood Obesity, 222-228.
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