Understanding the Role of Family Medicine and Diabetes Treatment: 3 Things You Should Know

Diabetes is an ever-growing disease that affects millions of Americans every year. Over the past couple of decades, our understanding of the different types of diabetes has helped improve outcomes and enhance patient communication and increased preventative measures and promote lifestyle changes. The role of family medicine is to be on the frontlines of community health and because of its prevalence, diabetes is a common issue.  

So where does El Paso stand in terms of diabetes numbers and what information do you need to know to better understand this condition and prevent or treat it effectively? We look at some important information. 

El Paso and Diabetes Data that Provides Unique Insight 

According to some 2018 data, 15% of adults in El Paso have diabetes, and in adults over the age of 65, the rate is 37%. That is compared to the state of Texas rates of 12% and 27% respectively. El Paso is a border town with a high Hispanic population. Data from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health reported that in 2018, Hispanics were 1.3 times more likely than non-Hispanic whites to die from diabetes and Hispanic adults are 70 percent more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes by a physician. Many of diabetes cases are related to obesity. El Paso Inc reported in April of 2021 that nearly 35% of El Paso adults are obese and this might very well contribute to the high rates of diabetes in the area. 

The best defense against any condition and disease is to be informed. Therefore, these numbers might provide meaningful insight. Hispanics are often at higher risk of diabetes either by genetic factors or through lifestyle and diet choices. According to the CDC, the Latino population have genes that increase the chance of developing type 2 diabetes. At the same time, traditional cuisine from Hispanic cultures tends to be very high in fat, carbohydrates, and calories.

What is Diabetes?

Most people have heard of diabetes in some form or another and probably associate it with being overweight. Although it is very common, there are different types of diabetes and the cause is not always crystal clear, as it often varies by type. So let’s break up a few major points. 

  • Diabetes mellitus is an umbrella term that refers to a group of diseases that affect how your body processes and uses glucose. The use of glucose is important for a variety of functions in the body, including as a necessary nutrient for cells and a main source of fuel for the brain. 
  • Type 1 Diabetes: This can also be referred to as “juvenile Onset” or “insulin Dependent” diabetes. This type affects children, teens, or adults that appear to have healthy body weight. Type 1 is caused when a person’s immune system destroys and attacks the pancreas. When this happens, the pancreas doesn’t properly produce and secrete insulin—which is needed to control blood glucose levels. 
  • Type 2 Diabetes: This type is also called “Adult Onset” or “Non Insulin Dependent” diabetes. This type of diabetes will typically be diagnosed in adults that are overweight or obese, but it can also be diagnosed in children. People diagnosed with Type 2 will often have relatives with diabetes. In the case of Type 2, the person can still produce insulin but the body has become resistant to the effects and over time, the pancreas slowly stops producing it. 

How is Diabetes Treated? 

The treatment received for diabetes will vary depending on the type of diabetes and the person’s age and health background. Generally speaking, the treatments involve:

  • For Type #1: The treatments involve receiving insulin injections or the use of an insulin pump. Because they cannot produce insulin, a person needs to take insulin in some way to help the body function better. 
  • For Type #2: This treatment varies a little more from person to person. For some, lifestyle choices, diet, and increased activity levels can help mitigate some of the symptoms. Others will be treated with medication or insulin. 

Addressing Prediabetes

According to the CDC, the Hispanic population is also more likely to be diagnosed with prediabetes. This condition is when the blood sugar levels are higher than average but have not yet surpassed the threshold to be considered Type 2 Diabetes. It’s a type of pre-diagnoses that indicates a likelihood of being diagnosed with Type 2 if it is not mitigated. 

How Does Your Family Medicine Clinic Help Treat Diabetes?

Whether you have been diagnosed or are concerned that you or someone in your family is at risk for developing diabetes, your local family medicine or primary care physician can be your first line of defense. 

Here’s how your local family medicine clinic can help:

#1 Early Intervention Goes a Long Way 

If you have someone in your family with diabetes or are struggling with weight, early intervention with your primary physician can prevent or help mitigate the onset of diabetes. 

#2 A Treatment Plan is Highly Effective

As you discuss your options with your physician, they will create a treatment plan that may involve lifestyle changes and dietary changes. These changes are not often easy to implement and having your local family medicine clinic can keep you in check as you visit your physician for check-ups. 

#3 Talking with Your Physician Often Help You Better Understand the Condition

Part of a primary care physician’s role in the community is to help educate familiar people about conditions that affect them and their fellow neighbors. Following up with your diabetes treatment plan sets you up for a better understanding of the treatment, how it’s working, why it’s working, and ways to improve it. 

Find a Trusted Clinic to Treat Diabetes and Improve Health and Wellness 

Here at EP Family and Pediatrics, we treat a long list of chronic conditions. As a family medicine clinic, we see some of the most common conditions that affect the El Paso community. Our mission is to do our part for the community by offering quality medical care, guidance, and support. If you think you or someone you know might have diabetes or if you have recently been diagnosed, make sure you engage in a diabetes treatment plan with someone you trust. 

Want to learn more? Call EP Family and Pediatrics today.

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