Diabetes is prevalent among the elderly Latino community. The process of accepting and acknowledging the seriousness of having this condition can have a mental effect on the elder. There are factors that need to be taken into account that will change for the typical Latino elder living in the central valley. Since much of the Latino community in the central valley works in agriculture, income is low and adherence to medication becomes difficult. Economic factors directly affect their health. The family who is associated with the diabetes patient will suffer as well. Dietary and lifestyle changes can help prevent long term medical conditions and help an elder Latino take control of their life by controlling their diabetes.
Effects of Diabetes in Elderly Latinos
As far as humans are concerned, time only flows in one direction. From the point of conception, humans are continuously aging. Once we have reached the pinnacle of our physical size, our body and health begins to deteriorate. Although there are preventative measures to stunt our decay, no one is exempt from aging and eventual death. Some diseases however cannot be prevented, rather they can only be controlled. Diabetes type 2 is an example of such a disease. Genetics play a huge part in the prevalence of the disease and one ethnic group has a high prevalence of diabetes; Latinos. Elderly Latinos are by far the most severely impacted group within the culture. The disease has impacts throughout the entire life of the Latino’s elderly; socially, economically, and of course lifestyle. The following studies have been done based on the Latinos living in the United States.
Acceptance by the elderly that they have a life threating condition may come as a shock. Based on a study, many elderly Latinos described the disease as frightening (Coronado, page 5). They compared the disease to HIV and cancer. To become diagnosed with a disease which a person relates to incurable conditions can be a traumatic experience. Diabetes is taken extremely serious by the elderly community. In fact many of the elders did their research on what had caused the disease in the first place. Many believed it came from genetics. Others claimed the food they consumed played a large role in their development of diabetes. Only a few people however, attested exercise was a valuable asset when diagnosed with diabetes. This speaks about the culture as a whole. This could mean that the elderly Latinos who were part of this experiment were reluctant to exercise. Exercise can improve their condition in many ways by allowing the body to use sugars in a more effective way. Acceptance could be hard; the implications of having such a disease can have a large mental impact on the elderly. By elderly Latinos accepting that they have diabetes, they are consciously accepting that they need medical attention. This medical attention can save a patient’s life and therefore it is crucial for a patient to be diagnosed early, so the healing process can begin sooner. It may not be easy for them to accept it, however they will begin to notice the symptoms and eventually succumb to medical treatment or risk suffering extreme high or low glucose levels, which in some cases could mean death. Once the elderly Latino diabetes patient accepts that they have a dangerous medical condition, the meditation regime will begin. Depending on the type of diabetes a patient has, they can be prescribed insulin, pills or a combination of both. Adherence to medications is a huge problem with Latino Elders. Many dislike the use of insulin simply because of their dislike for needles. The fact that the patient will be on medications for the rest of their lives may result in patients assuming one dosage miss will not have a huge impact on their health. The reality is that a diabetes patient will have severe symptoms with either hyper or hypoglycemia (high or low blood sugar levels) within an extremely short time span. Constantly...
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