Diabetes Prevention in Young Adults

Over the years, diabetes has become a cause for concern among the American population, especially the young adults who are risk of developing type 2 diabetes, which is the seventh leading cause of death in the country. It is estimated that 11.3 percent of adults of 20 to 60 years have diabetes (CDC, 2014). Moreover, people with diabetes are more prone to other complications, such as hypertension, kidney failure, depression and lower limp amputations. Additionally, uncontrolled diabetes during pregnancy may escalate the chances of dangerous complication that can adversely affect the mother and her unborn baby. It is thus important to manage and prevent diabetes in young adults to avert its adverse effects.

Diabetes is a metabolism disorder, which causes high blood sugar levels either because one cannot produce enough insulin or the body cells are resistant to insulin (American Diabetes Association, AMA 2015). Further, high blood sugar patients urinate frequently, experience fatigue, become thirsty and hungry increasingly. Diabetes is categorized into three types, type 1, type 2 and gestational diabetes. Type 1 diabetes involves a condition whereby the body fails to produce insulin while type 2 patients do not produce enough insulin for proper body function and it is estimated that 90 percent of the diabetics suffer from type 2 diabetes. Gestational diabetes, on the other hand affects women during pregnancy 

There has been a dramatic increase in the incidence and prevalence of diabetes, especially type 2 diabetes among the young adults in the United States. However, all types of diabetes are preventable and treatable though type 1 diabetes lasts a lifetime and has no cure. Type 2 diabetes, on the other hand may last a lifetime but patients have been able to eradicate its symptoms without using drugs through proper diet, exercise and control of their body weight. Moreover, gastric bypass surgery has been found to be effective in reversing type 2 diabetes though there are cases of recurrence after the surgery by up to 21 percent (CDC, 2014). 

Prevention of diabetes in young adults is of great importance to health promotion since it affects the patient’s life dimensions and life quality of the patient and the nation in general. Moreover, the disease is a contributor to increasing social and economic problems with 5 percent of the nation’s budget going to diabetes related diseases. Diabetic medical costs are estimated to be 2 to 5 times that of the healthy individual’s medical cost (Ferrara et al., 2014). Further, there is the concern that if the disease is not properly managed, the patient has a high probability of developing other life-threatening complications, such as hypertension, blindness and kidney failure. 

The issue of preventing diabetes and creating its awareness is of great concern since out of the 25.8 million people with diabetes in the United States, nearly 7 million are undiagnosed and the figure may rise significantly in the future with an estimation that if the trend continues, 1 in every 3 adults may be diabetic by the year 2050 (American Diabetes Association, AMA 2014). Moreover, diabetics are twice more likely to die on any given day than people without diabetes. Diabetes is also associated with indirect costs amounting to $58 million, which are related to disability, premature death and work loss while the direct costs amount to $166 billion (CDC, 2014).

However, diabetes is both preventable and controllable. Therefore, group support programs are crucial to improving a patient’s coping capabilities, developing better eating habits, as well as increasing their physical activity. Studies have shown that pre-diabetics who engage in physical activity have a 58 percent chance of reducing their susceptibility to type 2 diabetes. Measures that can be put in place to control diabetes in young adults include; self-management training, medication and ongoing support. Research has shown that reducing blood glucose by 1 percent results in a reduction of risk of kidney, nerve and eye disease by 40 percent (Ferrara et al., 2014). 

It is estimated that 8.5 percent of the people in the United States have diabetes, which translates into 25.8 million people, children included. The number could go up to 53.1 people by 2025 if not properly managed (AMA 2014). Targeting young adults is of chief importance since this is a population that has the strength and energy to exercise apart from having a central role in the nation’s economy. Moreover, this is a population that is at the first stages of parenthood, thus having more people depending on them, such as young children and old people. Figures show that in 2010, 1.9 million people of 20 years old and above were diagnosed with diabetes, while 25.6 million young adults have diabetes.

Prevention of diabetes in young adults is of great importance to the Healthy People 2020, which seeks to reduce the disease as well as its economic burden thereby boosting the quality of life of not only the diabetes patients but also of the people at risk. Healthy People 2020 advocates for effective therapy to both prevent and delay the complications brought about by the disease. This is fueled by the study that 25 percent of the diabetics are undiagnosed in addition to 57 million people with high glucose levels that may aggravate the chances of developing diabetes in the future (Department of Health and Human Services, 2015).

Moreover, Healthy People 2020 seeks to enhance the diabetes prevention behavior in people at high risk who show symptoms of pre-diabetes by making sure that more with pre-diabetes report higher levels of physical activity. The initiative has a target of getting this number to 49.1 percent with 10 percent improvement. Further, Healthy People 2020 has a target of 55 percent of people aged 18 years and above who are at risk for diabetes report trying to lose weight or controlling such weight. Further, the initiative advocates for people with pre-diabetes to report reducing the amount of calories in their diet.

The prevention of diabetes in young adults entails postponement of its complications so that human suffering and socio-economic burden to the nation can be reduced. Lifestyle changes are proposed as the most effective ways of preventing diabetes in high risk young adults, which is replicable in all ethnic and racial groups. However, prevention measures for diabetes should involve a modification of various risk factors simultaneously. This involves components, such as population-based strategies and high-risk strategies to change the lifestyle of the entire population, screen and identify people at risk (Ferrara et al., 2014). However, the population-based strategies are good for the target population that has high probability of acquiring diabetes while the high-risk strategy being appropriate for people with moderate risks.

The target population should gain information on the risk of diabetes in order to provide effective prevention measures. This information categorizes people with family history of diabetes as more prone to the disease, women with history of gestational diabetes, those people with previously elevated blood sugar levels as well as hypertensive individuals (Ferrara et al., 2014). Moreover, obese and less active young people are also at risk. Prevention would thus be based upon the knowledge one acquires from their parents or guardians about their infancy experience with regard to malnutrition, which metabolically programs their profile to either or not withstand chronic diseases in adult life.  

In finding ways to prevent diabetes in young adults, information from American Diabetes Association, AMA (2015) was used to give more insight on the physical activities that are best for the target group. It was found that physical activity that relieves stress, assists in maintaining the blood pressure, HDL cholesterol, blood glucose on target is the best. Moreover, the target population should engage in physical activity that blood circulation, strengthens the muscles, bones and heart. Such physical activity involves aerobics, light weight lifting, stretching and walking.

Further, AMA (2014) provided information on the statistics of the disease with regard to its cost to the government and the individual, the prevalence of diabetes according to race and ethnicity as well as the statistics about new cases, undiagnosed cases and deaths due to diabetes. Additional information from the American Heart Organization (2012) was used to provide details on the management and prevention of diabetes in young adults. It also provided the healthy young adults with information about who is at great risk of becoming diabetic in the future and how to best prevent oneself. 

In educating the target population, campaigns and promotions were appropriate in invoking early treatments of high blood glucose levels through healthcare providers and health care facility-based partners. In this approach, physician and patient education were done using posters, the internet and short message service to create awareness on the vital signs of diabetes. The resources that were used included smartphone app technology, staff and volunteers, budget and medical chart audits. 

Moreover, computer-aided diabetes nutrition education was also carried out to disseminate knowledge and self-efficacy of the nurses and students through provision of basic diabetes nutrition education in worksites. Such information would assist in boosting the level of nutrition assessment and prescription skills, for instance the determination of the desirable body mass index and caloric requirements per day. 

In preventing diabetes among young adults, it is important to educate them on the true facts about diabetes to help debunk myths people may have concerning the disease (Ferrara et al., 2014). First, exercise is crucial in the prevention and maintenance of diabetes in young adults. Exercise helps manage body weight, boost mood and cardiovascular health, relieve stress and control the blood sugar. However, diabetics should discuss which exercises to take with their doctor. It is also important for the young adults to learn that not all overweight people develop type 2 diabetes since many type 2 diabetic are never overweight. This would make everyone realize that they are vulnerable to diabetes if they do not take their diet and exercise seriously.

Young adults should know the diet to take to mitigate chances of becoming diabetic. The diet involves, plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grain, low in saturated fat, sugar and salt. Healthy people should also avoid taking steroids or becoming stressed, since this increases their blood sugar levels. Moreover, education is important in informing people that diabetes cannot be transmitted from one person to another, however it may be passed on through genes from parent to offspring, which should make one engage in healthy living if their family has diabetes history to reduce their chances of catching the disease.

 

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