The world’s most common and popular food right now are fast food, junk food, and almost anything instant. It’s a fast-paced world, especially when you’re an adult, so you need to juggle everything in between. This involves having meals while working or on the road–whichever your lifestyle allows. However, that’s all the more reason to schedule check-ups with your primary care physician.
Type 2 diabetes or diabetes mellitus is a common result of the lifestyle we just mentioned. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), about 415 million people all over the world have it. It’s also possible for the death rate from diabetes to double between 2005 to 2030 which is alarming.
Despite all of the evidence and research, there are still many challenges in treating it. Hence, we will discuss the role of primary care in the treatment of type 2 diabetes. We’ll list down some symptoms and talk about the barriers that prevent its effective treatment.
The Importance of Primary Care Physicians Against Type 2 Diabetes
Primary care is the central point to treating diabetes because there was a shortage of specialists. As you age, you become prevalent to Type 2 diabetes which requires an Endocrinologist. However, primary care doctors are more accessible so they deliver care for most of those patients. It’s no exaggeration to say that they provide clinical care to almost 90% of patients with type 2 diabetes.
As the years progress, the population of individuals with diabetes will gradually increase. This will require more primary care doctors in the future to successfully manage their patients. The good part is that diabetes is common enough that there is sufficient data for researchers to do more. More treatments, options, and medications can be developed before things get more difficult.
However, we shouldn’t discount the fact that treating diabetes can be a very complicated process. And it doesn’t help that some barriers prevent individuals from getting needed care. Let’s talk about what to look out for and what symptoms may signal that you have type 2 diabetes.
Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes According to Primary Care Doctors
With type 2 diabetes, your body is incapable of using insulin effectively to bring glucose to your cells. Your body will need to rely on alternative energy sources in your muscles, organs, and tissues. This causes a chain reaction in your body which leads to a variety of symptoms.
Type 2 diabetes doesn’t develop rapidly so the initial symptoms can look negligible. The early symptoms may include constant hunger, lack of energy, and fatigue. You may also experience excessive thirst, frequent urination, and blurry vision. Some individuals may feel pain, tingling, or numbness in their hands or feet as well. If you’re ticking the boxes, we highly suggest seeking a primary care physician right away.
However, as the disease progresses, the symptoms can become more alarming and severe. You might experience diabetic retinopathy or eye problems, kidney disease, and stroke. There’s also a chance that you get gum disease or feelings of numbness in your extremities.
Challenges in Treating Type 2 Diabetes According to Primary Care Physicians
Despite all of the treatments and medication available now, it can still be difficult to get treated. Let’s discuss what barriers and challenges people face when seeking treatment for type 2 diabetes.
1. Communication Barriers
These count as literacy problems or patients unable to understand what is being instructed. The medical field is filled with jargon and words that can be difficult to understand. This can be a challenge in many situations because people from all walks of life need care.
As a physician, you might have to treat someone who doesn’t speak the same language as you. It’s also possible that they didn’t reach the same level of education as you. In that case, you need to make your explanation as comprehensible as possible. After all, your goal is to provide care and help them get the treatment they need.
2. Personal Issues
You might encounter some patients struggling with personal issues or barriers. These include individual attitudes, financial difficulties, and lack of transportation. They may also be struggling with confidence, depression, or cultural considerations. Usually, those things are associated with nonadherence and there’s not much you can do about it.
It can be frustrating when the patient isn’t cooperating despite needing care. However, there’s only so much a primary care physician can do without the patient’s consent. Personal issues can be one of the biggest barriers to getting necessary care.
3. Self-Management Issues
This might sound redundant with the previous item because it’s “self-management”. However, there are a lot of things that fall under this category that it deserves to be an item. These can include forgetfulness, self-doubt, fear of pain, and deliberate ignorance.
Being forgetful of your routine, diet, and medication is a huge obstacle to treating diabetes. That will lead up to crippling self-doubt, making you think your efforts are futile. Fear of pain can also be crippling because you’ll be too afraid to take lab tests.
Finally, being deliberately ignorant of the importance of the physician’s instructions is a big problem. For example, they’re not checking their blood glucose levels when necessary. They might not be maintaining enough control of their routine as well, failing self-management.
We live in fast-paced times so people aren’t keen on monitoring their health and diet. Their focus is on accomplishing their goals, whether they’re students or workers. In many cases, they need to sacrifice sleep and time to meet deadlines and accomplish tasks. Hence, they resort to junk food and fast food to get through the day.
This can lead to developing type 2 diabetes, especially if it runs in their family. It’s a very common disease so a lot of research has been done on the topic. However, not everyone has easy access to treatments, especially in some developing countries. Several challenges will prevent physicians from managing diabetes effectively. Some of them can be remedied but others need a lot of effort from patients as well.
1. Is it possible to fully cure type 2 diabetes?
It’s a genetic condition or predisposition that doesn’t change even with treatment. However, the definition of diabetes is that it’s elevated blood sugar levels. Hence, when your blood sugar is controlled, it can be considered that diabetes has gone away. However, keep in mind that high blood sugar levels can come back. That means the predisposition for diabetes always exists.
2. Does having type 2 diabetes mean you need to take insulin?
It’s possible because 30% or more of people with type 2 diabetes need insulin therapy. On another note, there are newer drugs available that can delay or prevent insulin therapy. In the future, it’s expected that fewer people will need insulin replacement for their blood sugars.
3. Does exercise automatically help my diabetes?
In general, exercise is beneficial when managing type 2 diabetes. However, always consult with your doctor regarding exercise guidelines. That way, your exercise routine will be safe and reduce additional risks to your health.