Simply put, diabetes is a disease that’s correlated to one’s blood sugar (Glucose) levels (Mayo Clinic Staff, 2014). If a person’s glucose levels are much higher than the average, there is a high chance that the individual has some form of diabetes (Mayo Clinic Staff, 2014). According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, there are multiple forms of diabetes, but the most common are Type 1, Type 2, and Gestational Diabetes. Type 1 diabetes occurs when a person’s immune system attacks the insulin producing cells in the pancreas, which regulates glucose levels, resulting in a buildup of glucose in the blood (NIDDK, 2016). Type 2 diabetes, the most common, occurs when the body doesn’t produce insulin (NIDDK, 2016). Gestational diabetes occurs during pregnancy when the placenta produces hormones, to sustain the pregnancy, that cause the body’s cells resistant to insulin (Mayo Clinic Staff, 2014). Diabetes is a common disease that includes many risk factors and has a simple yet unique pathophysiological process, and in Illinois, around 8.3% of the population has diabetes (Illinois Department of Public Health, 2011).
There are various risk factors involved with diabetes, as different factors are correlated with each type. In the case of type 1 diabetes, risk factors include race/ethnicity, geography, family history, diet, viral infections, and autoimmune conditions (Smith-Marsh, 2016). In the case of type 2 diabetes, there are even more risk factors involved, all of which seem to stem from genes and lifestyle. According to the NIDDK, family history, age, ethnicity, weight, level of physical activity, depression, cholesterol levels, and blood pressure are all risk factors of type 2 diabetes. In Illinois, socioeconomic factors should be considered as a risk factor for diabetes as well. Individuals with less income have limited access to quality nutrition and better lifestyle choices, resulting in a higher risk of developing diabetes. According to the Illinois Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 15% of Illinois adults with income less than $15,000 have diabetes, compared to only 5.6% of adults who have incomes over $50,000.
“Diabetes occurs when there is a dis-balance between the demand and production of the hormone insulin” (Mandal, 2016). According to Mandal, in type 1 diabetes, the beta cells of the pancreas, which produce insulin, are attacked by the immune system, causing a deficiency in insulin production, leading to high levels of glucose in the blood. There are many things to consider when looking at the pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes, since there are many factors that come into play. In all, the process involves impaired insulin secretion and insulin resistance (McCulloch, Robertson, 2016). In specific instance, obesity for example, body becomes more resistant to insulin, leading to elevated glucose levels (The Illinois Diabetes Burden, 2012).
In 2012 Illinois, around 12.8% of the adult population had diabetes (The Burden of Diabetes in Illinois, 2012). Another interesting fact is that 37.5% of the adult population in Illinois have prediabetes; it is simply high blood sugar levels but not to the point of being diagnosed with diabetes (The Burden of Diabetes in Illinois, 2012). This is a very alarming statistic, considering the fact that type 2 diabetes is the most common and can be avoided by factors such as diet and exercise. In Illinois, the risk factors involved with type 2 diabetes seem to revolve more around demographics and socioeconomic status (The Illinois Diabetes Burden, 2012). In 2010, the percentage of adults with diabetes that are non-white was higher than adults that were white (The Illinois Diabetes Burden, 2012). Also, individuals with lower household incomes had higher percentages of diabetes than individuals with higher household incomes (The Illinois Diabetes Burden, 2012). Although there are many risk factors involved with diabetes in general, there are just as many ways to avoid and manage the disease. It is a very complex and imposing condition, and diabetes in Illinois is not excluded from this national dilemma.
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- Diabetes. (2011, October). Retrieved March 24, 2017, from http://www.idph.state.il.us/public/hb/hbdiabet.htm
- Mandal, M. D. (2016, June 20). Diabetes Pathophysiology. Retrieved March 24, 2017, from http://www.news-medical.net/health/Diabetes-Pathophysiology.aspx
- Smith-Marsh, D., PharmD. (2016, March 1). Type 1 Diabetes Risk Factors. Retrieved March 24, 2017, from https://www.endocrineweb.com/conditions/type-1-diabetes/type-1-diabetes-risk-factors
- What is Diabetes? | NIDDK. (2016, November). Retrieved March 24, 2017, from https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/overview/what-is-diabetes