DIVERSITY IN HEALTH 5
Diabetesis a metabolic disease which is chronic and affects how the bodyfunctions. Diabetes results due to the inability of the body toproduce insulin which is used to convert sugar to energy. There aretwo types of diabetes, type I and type II. Type I is less common asit affects people whose blood cannot convert food to glucose as itaccounts for less than 10% of the diabetes cases reported. Type IIdiabetes is the more common of the two types of diabetes as itaccounts for 90% of all cases of diabetes. It results from the bodyproducing excess glucose and affects people beyond the age of 20years. Diabetes is ranked as the fifth leading cause of death in theU.S as 26 million American are living with the chronic disease.Diabetes costs Americans $174 billion each year due to health carecost related in treating the disease (NationalDiabetes Educational Program, 2008).However, there are some disparities in cases of diabetes among thevarious ethnic communities in the country. African Americans are morelikely to be diagnosed with diabetes compared to other ethnic groups.
TheAmerican Diabetes Association reported that 14.7% of AfricanAmericans who are 20 years of older have diabetes. This means thatover 3.7 million African American have diabetes, which means AfricanAmerican are 1.6 times more likely to acquire diabetes than theirmale counterparts (Treadwell,Holden, Richard, Forest, & Wright, 2010).Several factors have been linked to contribute to this disparitybetween the African Americans and other ethnic groups. For instance,diabetes among the African Americans have been attributed to factorsuch as obesity, the lack of access to health facilities and alsounequal treatment of the black community in health facilities, thelack of education which has contributed to a the lack of resources intreating the illness and cultural attitudes developed by the blackcommunity in addressing diabetes. Fortunately there is some progressbeing made in addressing the situation and according to a save oursons program, SOS a model of prevention with highly trained healthworkers and a strong community infrastructure might just be what isrequired in addressing the diabetes situation among the AfricanAmerican community in the U.S.
AfricanAmericans are 5.6 times likely to suffer from kidney disease relatedto diabetes and are 2.5 times more to have an amputation whencompared to their white counterparts. Several reasons have attributedto this disparity in diabetes (Treadwell,Holden, Richard, Forest, & Wright, 2010).First, obesity is one of the leading causes of diabetes as it isassociated with high levels of cholesterol and high blood pressurewhich as precursor to developing diabetes. The black community ismore prone to diabetes unlike other ethnic communities due to theirgenetic composition and their unhealthy eating lifestyles. AfricanAmericans are more likely to consume fast food than home cooked mealswhich have less cholesterol and could be a better alternative to fastfoods. Secondly, poverty levels among the African American communityplay a huge role in the prevalence of diabetes. The black communitystill lags behind in terms of income levels as compared to theirwhite counterparts and this hinders their accessibility to healthfacilities. According to the accessible health act, over 30 millionAmerican are not insured and the black community represented asignificant part of the American population who could not accesshealth facilities due to lack of insurance(Edward,Foster, Gonzalez, & McIver, 2012).In addition, the prevalence of diabetes in the black community can beattributed to a lack of equal treatment of black people in healthfacilities.
Accordingto a study conducted on 42 adult males from Ohio who were diagnosedor were at risk of being diagnosed with diabetes showed thatincreased prevention strategies such as the use of exercise coupledwith lifestyle changes can go a long way in treating diabetes. Uponthe completion of the SOS program, blood pressure decreased by 23%,hypertension decreased significantly while BMI scores showeddeclining cases of obesity (Treadwell,Holden, Richard, Forest, & Wright, 2010).The black men who were involved in the study were between the ages of25 and 45. Some of the men in the program could not afford aninsurance program since they only had a salary of between $10,000 and$25,000 per year but some could afford some basic insurance program(Treadwell,Holden, Richard, Forest, & Wright, 2010).This study showed that proper exercises and education on healthmatters can go long way in alleviating diabetes.
Whilediabetes cases seem to be prevalent among the black communitycompared to other ethnic communities, there is a lot that can be doneto educate the black community about changing their healthylifestyles and being involved in exercises. Disparities in diabetesamong the African American community can be changed through bychanging their negative attitude and also accessing health carefacilities especially with the roll out of affordable health care actwhich should make healthcare costs cheaper. The lack of an insuranceprogram for a significant number of the African American communityshould not be an excuse for diabetes.
Edward,C. A., Foster, H., Gonzalez, V., & McIver, L. (2012). TheDisparate Impact of Diabetes on Racial/Ethnic Minority Populations.Retrieved April 12, 2015, from American Diabetes Association:http://clinical.diabetesjournals.org/content/30/3/130.full
NationalDiabetes Educational Program. (2008). TheDiabetes Epidemic Among African Americans.Retrieved April 13, 2015, from Diabetes Ohio:http://www.diabetesohio.org/Portals/0/docs/DiabetesLiterature/FS_AfricanAm.pdf
Treadwell,H., Holden, K., Richard, H., Forest, H., & Wright, F. (2010).Addressing Obesity and Diabetes Among African American Men:Examination of a Community Based Model of Prevention. Journalof the National Medicine Association,794-802.