Diabetes is one of the major health issues in the USA and worldwide. It has been estimated that over 400 million people globally suffer from diabetes, and almost 200 million live with this disease without knowing it (Chatterjee et al. 2239). Type 2 diabetes accounts for 90% of these cases. This health issue harms people’s quality of life and can even lead to death. Diabetes was regarded as an illness of older people, but people of all ages can develop this disorder (Laakso 7). Scientists and medical staff have developed various medications and treatment strategies to address this health problem (Kahn et al. 1068). This paper includes a brief analysis of the prevention strategies of type 2 diabetes.
Before considering the existing prevention methods, it is necessary to pay certain attention to the most vulnerable groups and major causes. As has been mentioned above, older adults often develop type 2 diabetes. They can be regarded as one of the risk groups (Laakso 3). This health concern is specifically persistent in the developed world, but many people living in developing countries can also be diagnosed with this disease. Ethnicity is one of the primary risk factors for such groups as Mexican Americans and African Americans, as well as Australian Aboriginals, are in the risk group (Laakso 3). People living in South Asia are at a higher risk of the development of type 2 diabetes. Family history is regarded as a factor that can be associated with the illness.
As for the causes of diabetes, there are many views concerning this matter. Researchers agree that there is still no evidence suggesting that this or that factor causes the development of type 2 diabetes (Laakso 9). However, some factors are more likely to be the causes of the disorder. One of the central health conditions leading to the illness in question is obesity (Kahn et al. 1070). Obese and overweight people often have impaired insulin sensitivity that leads to the development of diabetes.
A sedentary lifestyle and improper diets can be influential factors that can lead to illness development. Laakso also notes that the low intake of fiber and the consumption of high saturated fat can cause the disease (7). The intake of sugar-sweetened beverages is likely to be linked to cases of diabetes (Imamura et al.). It is important to remember that eating habits and lifestyles can predict people’s diabetes status.
It has been found that unhealthy habits are risk factors as well. Tobacco is one of the substances that deteriorates people’s health in many ways. Diabetes can become one of the outcomes of smoking (Laakso 7). Furthermore, alcohol intake is associated with the development of type 2 diabetes as well. According to recent research, inadequate sleep patterns can result in the disorder’s development (Shan et al. 529). The researchers stress that an insufficient amount of sleep (6 hours or less) and excessive sleep time (more than 8 hours) can contribute to the development of diabetes.
The factors mentioned above can be referred to as modifiable as they can be addressed. Some disorders can be associated with diabetes as well. For example, hypertension can be one of the causes of this disease (Laakso 7). Another health condition associated with diabetes is dyslipidemia (Laakso 7). Cardiovascular disorders have proved to be linked to diabetes in some ways.
When it comes to prevention, it is necessary to note that the vulnerable groups should pay specific attention to the existing prevention methods. These people should remember that they are at high risk of the development of a serious disorder and have to undertake the corresponding measures. If the factors causing diabetes are modifiable, people should try to change their health conditions, habits, and behaviors.
For instance, obese people should try to lose weight, modify their diets, be more active physically, and have regular check-ups. Laakso argues that early diagnosing increases the chances of effective treatment (9). Therefore, being in the risk group does not necessarily result in the development of type 2 diabetes, but it is still essential to develop a healthy lifestyle to prevent this disease development or progress.
Researchers stress that healthy eating is regarded as the central component of prevention. Ley et al. state that vegetarian, Mediterranean, low carbohydrate, and glycaemic index diets are strong prevention methods (7). The authors also emphasize that the diets should be developed with a focus on people’s cultural backgrounds and preferences as well as current health conditions. It is acknowledged that healthy eating presupposes diversity and frugality. As has been mentioned above, products rich in fiber should be consumed (Laakso 7). The consumption of healthy foods can prevent many health issues including type 2 diabetes.
It is noteworthy that various prevention programs are available in the USA. Medical staff can be regarded as the major actors in the prevention process (Laakso 9). Nurses and physicians educate people regarding the risks of the development of diabetes and various strategies to prevent it. Patients receive recommendations concerning their diets and lifestyles. Educational establishments also play a significant role in this process. Teachers educate people on the benefits of healthy lifestyles, school canteens serve healthy food, and the curriculum is developed in a way to ensure the proper physical activity of students. The government and non-governmental organizations try to help people live healthier lives. Many TV shows, sports events, and fairs are devoted to the issues associated with diabetes prevention.
People should make sure they have no bad habits such as smoking or excessive alcohol use. Again, these issues are covered by many institutions and organizations. It is well-known that these bad habits have a disastrous impact on people’s health, and it is stressed that diabetes is one of these negative effects (Laakso 9). The media are a potent tool to achieve the goal as well. Many celebrities mention this problem and try to encourage people to have healthy lifestyles and quit bad habits.
In the case of diabetes, disease prevention and health promotion are almost identical. Health promotion is concerned with the adherence to healthy lifestyles and proper diets. People are encouraged to do sports, be more active, develop healthy dietary habits, quit bad habits, learn how to manage stress, and so on. Diabetes prevention also involves the points mentioned above. Diabetes is a disorder that is closely related to the way people live and behave.
However, whereas health promotion is often associated with some general guidelines and the focus on some abstract benefits such as good health, the situation is slightly different with diabetes prevention. When speaking about preventing diabetes, specific health risks are mentioned. For instance, people are informed about such complications as heart disorders sight and hearing impairments, foot damage, and even increased risks of developing Alzheimer’s disease (Laakso 9). Such details can be more persuasive than just a promise of better health.
In this respect, it is possible to develop effective health promotion strategies. It can be beneficial to mention the development of diabetes as one of the specific health risks associated with unhealthy lifestyles. For instance, health promotion campaigns aimed at smoking and alcohol use prevention should contain sufficient information concerning the association between these habits and the disorder in question.
It is also necessary to remember that schools have a tremendous effect on young generations’ minds, and it is crucial to enhance health promotion in this setting. Importantly, major attention should be paid to underprivileged populations as they often have limited resources and feel unable to maintain healthy lifestyles (Laakso 9). It is necessary to help these people feel empowered and encouraged to live healthily.
To sum up, it is necessary to note that type 2 diabetes is one of the primary health concerns of the American healthcare system. The prevalence of the disorder is likely to remain unchanged or even increase due to population aging. Although there are some shifts in people’s lifestyles as more and more people try to live healthy lives, there are still many issues especially when it comes to disadvantaged populations. The system of education has to be the primary agent of change as teachers can shape young people’s perspectives. It is also necessary to use the media that have become a powerful tool affecting people’s minds.
Chatterjee, Sudesna, et al. “Type 2 Diabetes.” The Lancet, vol. 389, no. 10085, 2017, pp. 2239-2251.
Imamura, Fumiaki, et al. “Consumption of Sugar Sweetened Beverages, Artificially Sweetened Beverages, and Fruit Juice and Incidence of Type 2 Diabetes: Systematic Review, Meta-Analysis, and Estimation of Population Attributable Fraction.” BMJ, vol. 351, 2015, Web.
Kahn, Steven E., et al. “Pathophysiology and Treatment of Type 2 Diabetes: Perspectives on the Past, Present, and Future.” The Lancet, vol. 383, no. 9922, 2014, pp. 1068-1083.
Laakso, Markku. “Epidemiology of Type 2 Diabetes.” Type 2 Diabetes: Principles and Practice, 2nd ed., edited by Barry J. Goldstein and Dirk Mueller-Wieland, CRC Press, 2016, pp. 1-13.
Ley, Sylvia H., et al. “Prevention and Management of Type 2 Diabetes: Dietary Components and Nutritional Strategies.” The Lancet, vol. 383, no. 9933, 2014, pp. 7-13.
Shan, Zhilei, et al. “Sleep Duration and Risk of Type 2 Diabetes: A Meta-Analysis of Prospective Studies.” Diabetes Care, vol. 38, no. 3, 2015, pp. 529-537.