November 15th, 2011
Diabetes in the U.S.
Diabetes is a disease rapidly increasing throughout the world today, and it is often referred to as the world’s modern epidemic. According to The World Health Organization (WHO) there were 171 million people suffering from diabetes worldwide in 2000. They are expecting this number to be doubled by year 2050 with 366 million diagnosed people. The organization’s most recent “calculations indicate that worldwide almost 3 million deaths per year are attributable to diabetes” (World Health Organization). It is clear that diabetes is a huge problem in the world, and a research called “The burden of Mortality Attributable to Diabetes: Realistic estimates for the year 2000” concluded with diabetes becoming “the fifth leading cause of death”(Roglic, et al.) in the world. However, the focus of this research paper will not be on an international level. It is not a unknown fact that the U.S. has a lot of problems with people being diagnosed with diabetes. In this paper I will take a closer look at why the problems with this disease in the U.S. has increased and keeps on increasing and why this is now a social problem. Is it due to people’s diet, socioeconomic situation and what groups of people are more exposed than others? “Diabetes is a chronic disease that occurs either when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces” (World Health Organization) and there are two types of diabetes. The Type 1 diabetes is caused by the lack of insulin, which is necessary to regulate the blood sugar. What causes Type 1 diabetes is currently not fully known. They know that there is a combination of genes and unknown environmental factors that are causing it, but most of the children born with the genes are not developing diabetes. In order to find these unknown factors there is being done a lot of research on virus infections and the nutritional conditions early in life. Type 2 diabetes results from the body’s ineffective use of insulin” (World Health Organization), and about 90% of people worldwide diagnosed with diabetes suffers from this type. The biggest reasons for Type 2 diabetes are heredity, obesity and lack of physical activity. Earlier, it would only occur in adults, and it was called adult-onset diabetes. Now this type is also observed in children, thus they had to start calling it something else than adult-onset diabetes.Internationally, the number of people diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes has gone from 50 millions in 1985 to 246 millions in 2007. That is also close to a quadrupled number in only 22 years, which is a scary development. All these numbers were found on the web page of The Norwegian Institute of Public Health. Being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes also brings around other complications, such as an increased risk for suffering a stroke, kidney failure and blindness. From numbers released in January 2011 from the National Diabetes Fact Sheet, 25.8 people in the U.S. suffers from diabetes, which makes up 8.3 percent of the population. The U.S. spent about $174 billion on diagnosed diabetes in 2007 according to the website www.diabetes.org. When considering those who are not diagnosed, but does have diabetes, the cost totals to $218 billion. According to the journal article “Lifetime Risk for Diabetes Mellitus in the United States”, “it is estimated that the number of individuals in the United States with diagnosed diabetes will increase by 165% between 2000 and 2050, with the fastest increases occurring in older and minority subpopulations” (Narayan et al. 1884). This research was done to identify characteristics that increased the risk of diabetes for individuals born in the U.S. the year of 2000, and they found that the chances were 1 in 3 for men and 2 in 5 for women in general. The minority group of Hispanics had an estimated higher life risk “with Hispanic females having roughly 1 in 2 risk...