Diabetes : A Modern Day Pandemic Essay

Diabetes : A Modern Day Pandemic Essay

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Diabetes Mellitus is a modern day pandemic. There are nearly 3.5 million people who have been diagnosed with diabetes in the United Kingdom (DIABETES UK, 2016). There are two main types of diabetes that are a public health concern, type one and type two. Public health includes organised public or private measures put in place to prevent disease, promote health and prolong life in a population (WHO, 2016). Type 1 is an autoimmune disease where people have absolute insulin deficiency and this most commonly affects children and young adults, but can also occur in older adults, this is called latent autoimmune diabetes. In Type 1, the immune system targets the Beta cells in the islets of Langerhans within the Pancreas, insulin therefore cannot be produced as the majority of Beta cells are destroyed. The symptoms of type 1 often occur over a short duration (2-3 weeks) and some examples include polydipsia, polyphagia, and polyuria (Atkinson, Eisenbarth and Michels, 2014). Type 1 Diabetes is treated with lifelong exogenous insulin injections and lifestyle modifications. Type 2 Diabetes is a common metabolic disorder, often associated with chronic hyperglycaemia, which is caused by relative or absolute insulin deficiency or insulin resistance (Atkinson, Eisenbarth and Michels, 2014). It is an insidious and progressive disease that is often diagnosed late, when complications and symptoms arise. Symptoms include: polyurea, polydypsia, fatigue, unexplained weight loss, thrush, slow healing of wounds and blurred vision (NHS Choices, 2016). There is a major link between obesity (BMI > 30) and increased age and therefore is mostly prevalent in older people (40 years and over) (Dunning, 2014). However, it should be noted that there i...


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...uch as amputations or losing sight, due to retinopathy. All of this can understandably lower the mood of patients and thus could lead to the development of depression over time. It is believed that people who suffer with type 2 diabetes have a 24% increased risk of developing depression (Nouwen et al., 2010). Therefore, it is not only important for nurses to educate patients on how to avoid developing these co-morbidities and complications but also to play a huge role in helping patients to cope with the emotional stresses, along with the physical, and support them throughout. Patients may need to be referred for cognitive-behavioural therapy, counselling or prescribed medications, such as Citalopram (NICE, 2009). It is important during this time to build trust and a therapeutic relationship with patients so they don’t feel alone and treatment can be optimised.

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