CHALLENGES OF TYPE 2 DIABETES AND ROLE OF HEALTH CARE SOCIAL WORK: A Neglected Area of Practice

By DeCoster, Vaughn A. | Health and Social Work, February 2001 | Go to article overview

CHALLENGES OF TYPE 2 DIABETES AND ROLE OF HEALTH CARE SOCIAL WORK: A Neglected Area of Practice


DeCoster, Vaughn A., Health and Social Work


Across the world, diabetes mellitus is one of the most prevalent and serious chronic diseases. In the United States alone, almost 16 million people suffer from diabetes, which costs many of them their eyesight, kidney function, lower limbs, or life itself, and costs the U.S. health care system billions of dollars. Currently, social work involvement with this chronic disease appears limited; however, social workers have the potential to make remarkable differences in the lives of people coping with diabetes. To facilitate involvement, this article outlines the basic aspects of Type 2 diabetes mellitus, its biopsychosocial challenges, and the roles health care social workers that may be assumed in assisting adult patients and their families.

Key words

adults

diabetes

direct practice

health care

psychosocial challenges

Diabetes mellitus is one of the most prevalent and serious chronic diseases facing the U.S. health care system. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (1998), diabetes affects 15.7 million people in the United States, 10.3 million of who have been diagnosed and 5.4 million of who are unaware that they have this disease. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) (1998) estimates that in 1997 alone medical care for diabetes cost $44.1 billion dollars. Diabetes exacts an equally devastating physical toll; it is the leading cause of blindness, end-stage renal disease, noninjury-related lower limb amputations, and cardiac disease, and it is the seventh leading cause of death in this country (CDC, 1998). Currently, social work involvement with this chronic disease is limited. For instance, as of 1998, social work clinicians made up less than 1 percent (n = 57) of the professionals listed with the American Association of Diabetes Educators, the principal organization of diabetes professional s. As a topic of research, a review of the social work literature identified 13 articles on diabetes-related topics (see Table 1). Although there are probably many social workers treating and researching diabetes, their involvement seems inconspicuous. Considering the ability of diabetes and its treatment to challenge an individual's biopsychosocial functioning, social workers have the potential to make remarkable differences in the lives of people coping with this disease. Nevertheless, according to Sidell (1997), mental health professionals "typically receive little training specifically designed to help them assist people with chronic illnesses" (p. 10).

To assist people with diabetes, social workers first need to understand the disease, how it challenges patients, and then ways to become involved. This article outlines the basic aspects of Type 2 diabetes, its incessant challenges, and several interventions health care social workers may use to assist adults with this chronic disease.

DIABETES MELLITUS

Diabetes mellitus is a cluster of endocrine diseases characterized by the body's complete or partial inability to absorb glucose, the principal source of energy, from digested foods into cells (Harris, 1995b). Unabsorbed glucose accumulates in the bloodstream, eventually exceeding physiologically tolerable levels, damaging blood vessels and capillaries. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) (1995), diabetic complications include blindness, renal failure, peripheral neuropathy, and peripheral vascular disease. People with diabetes are also at greater risk of cardiac disease, strokes, amputations, retinopathy, cataracts, glaucoma, and gestational complications compared with people of similar age without diabetes (CDC, 1998; NIH, 1995).

Distinguishing Type 2 from Type 1 Diabetes

There are primarily two forms of diabetes. In Type 1 diabetes, formerly called "insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus," the pancreas produces very little or no insulin, necessitating an injected supply of insulin. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

CHALLENGES OF TYPE 2 DIABETES AND ROLE OF HEALTH CARE SOCIAL WORK: A Neglected Area of Practice
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.