It’s a month into school, and the first wave of midterms are well under way, but I really hope that everyone is still eating healthy and sleeping soundly. In our last blog, we mentioned that we will be exploring some of the common symptoms of diabetes and tips to control diabetes. This information will be briefly mentioned as we also encourage you to check out the new “Lifestyle” selection under the “Diabetes” tab on our website for some general information and tips about diabetes and its management.
We will list some common symptoms from our club’s parent site, Diabetes Canada: unusual thirst, frequent urination, weight change (gain or loss), extreme fatigue or lack of energy, blurred vision, frequent or recurring infections, cuts or bruises that are slow to heal, tingling or numbness in the hand or feet, trouble getting or maintaining an erection. Additionally, it is possible to display no symptoms even if one does have Type 2 Diabetes. So, whether you have symptoms or not, it is still good to remain informed about your blood glucose levels, which can be obtained from a blood test.
However, the main feature of this blog will be to briefly discuss the findings of an article from BMJ journal: Prevalence of diagnosed type 1 and type 2 diabetes among US adults in 2016 and 2017: population based study (Xu et. al., 2018). The experimenters analyzed the results of a nationwide cross-sectional survey to estimate the prevalence of the diagnosis of Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes in the US general population, and the proportion of each subtype. Out of 58 186 adults, 6317 of these adults were diagnosed with either type of diabetes. The prevalence of type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes was 9.7%, and 0.5%, respectively. Among adults with a lower educational level (compared to the sampled population), type 1 diabetes was more prevalent, whereas type 2 diabetes was more prevalent among males, adults with lower educational levels, lower family incomes, and higher BMI. The study determined that the risk factors of age, sex, race/ethnicity, educational level, family income level, and BMI, were all statistically significant for diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes. For Type 1 diabetes, only the risk factors of sex, race/ethnicity, and income level reached statistical significance.
The authors critique the limitations of a few of the previous studies which studied the prevalence of diabetes. They also point out how little was previously known about the prevalence of diabetes in not just the US, but other countries as well. The authors believe that since diabetes is a growing problem among children and adolescents, continued up-to-date data about the prevalence of diabetes is important. Certain previous studies mentioned in the discussion of the results also point out that the prevalence of diabetes is expected to increase. I believe that the authors mentioned the results of numerous previous studies to advocate for the importance of continued tracking of the prevalence of diabetes. Highlighting this importance emphasizes the motivation for their study and stresses the necessity of their results. A major strength about this study is that the data is nationally representative and from a leading health survey. It also examines different risk factors that are significant for both types of diabetes. However, weaknesses include that only diagnosed diabetes were reported in the survey – the prevalence of undiagnosed diabetes is unaccounted for. Therefore, the prevalence of diabetes is likely to be higher than reported in the results of this study. Participants may also have misreported their diagnosis. It is to the authors’ credit for discussing these strengths and weaknesses in their article. Nevertheless, I am really curious on how well these findings can be extrapolated to the Canadian population, and perhaps a similar study can be conducted in Canada. I believe that to better advocate for diabetes research and awareness, further studies like this one are necessary, in order to highlight the vast number of affected individuals. Diabetes is a condition that affects many people, and continued studies will allow us to monitor its prevalence. These results can then be used to potentially identify which demographics are most at risk.
Anyways, we have to keep things short, but I hope everyone enjoyed our first article, and appreciated the importance of research in learning more about things that may affect our lives. Remember to check out the rest of our website for more information and tips about diabetes management! We will be back next month with another article, and I wish everyone the best as you persevere through the semester.
Kevin Lu – uOttawa Team Diabetes
Xu, G., Liu, B., Sun, Y., Du, Y., Snetselaar, L. G., Hu, F. B., & Bao, W. (2018). Prevalence of diagnosed type 1 and type 2 diabetes among US adults in 2016 and 2017: Population based study. Bmj. doi:10.1136/bmj.k1497