Social Policy - Diabetes

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Social Issue – Diabetes Type 2
Examine a contemporary social issue (which may or may not have been covered during the module) paying particular attention as to why this issue has become problematic and for whom. Also, consider what should be done about your chosen issue and any role that nursing/social work might have in dealing with it. A social issue can be defined as ‘social conditions identified by scientific inquiry and values as detrimental to human well-being’ (Manis 1976). I believe that a social issue can be anything that affects a person in a bad way and affects their standard of living. It could be something from a health problem to something to do with a financial issue within someone’s home. I am going to focus on the health of the public and have chosen to pay attention to the social issue of diabetes type 2. I am going to pay particular attention to why diabetes has become problematic in the community and for who it is causing a problem to. Type 2 diabetes occurs when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin to maintain a normal blood glucose level, or your body is unable to use the insulin that is produced (NHS Choices). You are likely to develop type 2 diabetes if you are over the age of 40, have a relative with the condition or are overweight. A person is normally thought to have type 2 diabetes if he or she does not have type 1 diabetes (insulin-dependent) or monogenetic diabetes (WHO). Patients that suffer from type 2 diabetes generally are given dietary guidance so that they can manage their blood sugar and they are also advised to take their blood sugar once a day to make sure that it is regular. Patients should also increase physical activity and control their weight. It is important that diabetes type 2 is controlled so that it doesn’t progressively get worse and lead to diabetes type 1 diabetes which would mean the patient would become insulin dependent. Diabetes type 2 is problematic for the patient as during everyday living they have to make sure they are aware of what they are eating and doing to make sure they control their own blood sugar to keep themselves healthy. A patient suffering from type 2 diabetes might feel self conscious at meal times as they may have to eat something different to the people they are dining with. This can cause the person’s self esteem to be decreased and they could be embarrassed to eat around other people as they might feel like they are being segregated from the group. A patient also has to exercise regularly which they might find difficult to fit into their lifestyle but in order to control their blood sugar effectively it should become an important part of their everyday life. It can also be problematic on the health costs. Current estimates suggest that direct health cost of diabetes accounts for 5% of the UK health cost (Payne, Barker 2010). This percentage doesn’t even include the full cost of the problem. There are also costs related to sickness from work, disability and more than 10% of hospital bed days. Since 1996 the number of people diagnosed with diabetes has increased from 1.4 million to 2.9 million. Most of these cases will be Type 2 diabetes, because of our ageing population and rapidly rising numbers of overweight and obese people. This suggests to us that the demands on the health service are going to increase which will therefore cost more money. These statistics also tell us that an increase in obesity is going to affect diabetes. Obesity is increasing in the UK such that over half the population are now overweight or obese. This has significant health consequences, causing an increase in the risk of diabetes (Payne, Barker 2010). The government have suggested that obesity is resulting in health costs increasing and life expectancy decreasing. One of the social consequences for a person that is obese or overweight is that they are seen negatively upon and discriminated against. This can happen in all situations in social environments and...
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