The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ignited hope in the fight against diabetes with new data suggesting that after decades of continuous growth of diagnosed diabetes the rate of increase may be slowing.
The data was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association this year. However, even with this positive news of progress, the CDC wrote on their website that “continued efforts needed to reduce future cases of diagnosed diabetes.”
According to CDC’s 2014 National Diabetes Statistics Report, one out of every 11 people is suffering from diagnosed or undiagnosed diabetes in the United States. This means 29.1 million people in the population are suffering with this disease.
MedStar Harbor Hospital in Baltimore is ranked one of the top 10 hospitals in the entire state of Maryland according to U.S. News & World Report.
Dr. Tamira Pillay, a medical resident who works at MedStar explained what diabetes is and the difference with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.
She said, there are two types of diabetes: Type 1 diabetes and Type 2 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes, also called juvenile diabetes, usually happens or is diagnosed at an early age. This can be as early as five through ten years old. Type 2 diabetes, on the other hand, happens to people who are generally older in their 30s or above.
The big difference with Type 1 diabetes is that the pancreas does not function well so the body is not producing what the pancreas usually provides: insulin. If one is producing too much sugar, the insulin in your body will work against that to bring the body’s overall sugar level down, creating hemostasis in the body. People who are diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes usually have to take insulin on a daily basis, according to Pillay.
She continued saying those with Type 2 diabetes may be overweight, have poor eating habits, or have a genetic disposition to develop Type 2 diabetes. When any of these factors happen it could mean that either the body’s pancreas isn’t working as well as it could be or the body’s cells are not receptive to the insulin that it is producing. With Type 2 diabetes, even if you might have adequate insulin in your body but your body doesn’t respond, your blood sugar level will not decrease.
There are several risks that could arise if diabetic patients do not take care of their health.
Pillay said complications that can occur are being predisposed to heart attacks, clogged blood vessels, blindness with your eyesight, and developing kidney failure. She then said a short term complication which can happen is going into a diabetic coma.
Dr. David McBride, director of the University Health Center, spoke about the protocols the health center has to treat students with diabetes here on campus.
“We do not have specialty care at the UHC in endocrinology. [However] our primary care providers participate in the care of diabetic patients, often in consultation with a patient’s home endocrinologist or a local specialist to whom we may refer.”
He continued saying, “we provide [the] initial stabilizing care here at the Health Center and if that did not resolve the emergency, we arrange for transport to a local emergency department. These situations are relatively rare.”
McBride assures students that the health center is capable of taking care of diabetic patients as the pharmacy carries medication for diabetes.
“We do carry insulin and a number of [other] oral anti-diabetes medications.” The health center can order different medications for next day delivery if needed, according to McBride.
Justina Simmons, a junior at the University of Maryland and a diabetic patient, believed the health center would be able to take care of her if she had any diabetic-related emergencies. However, she would still like to see the health center get an endocrinology department.
“Even though I am confident that the health care can take are of any issues relating to my diabetes, I think it would be better for the university to invest in the health center so it could have an endocrinology department. This way, the health center would be able to take care of any and all diabetic related issues without outside help.”