On Wednesday, January 20, I attended the Clinical Innovations Dinner and Program sponsored by Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing. The focus of the program was Diabetes: Trends and Implications. The speaker Barbara G. Rosato, an Adult Nurse Practitioner, shared her research on diabetes. Barbara defined Diabetes Mellitus as a disease of chronic illness. She explained that a person with Diabetes Mellitus requires ongoing medical care and patient self management. The goal of Barbara’s presentation was to share her efforts and ways of preventing acute complications from diabetes and to reduce the risk of long term complications.

One may not realize that diabetes is a very prevalent disease. There are 23.6 million people with diabetes and about $174 billion dollars have been spent on the health of diabetic individuals. In Massachusetts, the number of people with diabetes is expected to increase especially in individuals from 65-75 years old. One leading cause of diabetes Barbara addressed was obesity. Obesity has become more common within the USA and is expected to increase in the years to go unless drastic actions are taken to prevent this. Besides obesity, there are numerous factors which can increase the risk of diabetes. These factors include increasing age, an inactive lifestyle, a blood pressure greater than 140/90, and a history of gestational diabetes. The one risk factor that really struck me was that minorities such as African Americans, Asian Americans, American Indians, Pacific Islanders and Hispanic/Latinos were more prone to contracting diabetes. I thought about my aunt who recently was diagnosed with diabetes. My aunt is not only African American, but also has high blood pressure and is obese. As a diabetic she must continuously monitor her glucose levels and inject Insulin within her body when needed.

Despite the drastic statistics demonstrating an increase in diabetic people, Barbara shared forms of treatment that have significantly reduced the number of individuals dying from and being diagnosed with diabetes. The most drastic form of treatment was changing one’s lifestyle by incorporating regular physical activity, reducing one’s weight, and being on a nutrition program. Barbara also shared information on the pros and cons to the Hemoglobin A1c test (measures one’s average blood glucose over a 12 week period) and DPP-IV inhibitors (slows the activation of incretin hormones). Barbara’s presentation on diabetes was well researched and presented. I was glad I was able to understand diabetes better, since I am at risk for it being that my extended family has a history for diabetes.

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