Navigating the Complexity of Diabetes: Sarah’s Story of Hope, Adaptation, and Resilience

Posted: June 7th, 2024

Introduction

For this study, I interviewed a consenting adult neighbor named Sarah. Sarah, a 35-year-old African-American woman, has been living with diabetes since receiving her diagnosis at the age of 25. She is a devoted wife, mother of two little children, and nurse. In addition, she skillfully controls her diabetes despite the demands of her hectic schedule by taking her medicine as directed, eating a balanced meal, and exercising frequently. Sarah’s narrative not only illuminates the difficulties encountered by those with diabetes but also offers motivation to those facing comparable circumstances. The aim of this essay is to shed light on the social, psychological, and physical effects of chronic illnesses to provide readers with insightful information on the difficulties experienced by those with them. This essay will also emphasize Sarah’s tenacity and resolve, giving readers a more nuanced picture of how people deal with and adjust to the challenges of long-term sickness. The goal of this investigation is to increase knowledge, empathy, and awareness to make society more understanding and knowledgeable about the realities faced by those with long-term medical illnesses.

 

Etiology

Diabetes mellitus, more especially type 2 diabetes, has several etiological variables, including genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors. Genetic predisposition is important; some genes increase an individual’s risk of developing the condition (Hill-Briggs et al., 2021). Insulin resistance results from environmental variables, including obesity, a sedentary lifestyle, and bad eating habits. Insulin resistance results from the body’s cells not responding to the hormone insulin, which controls blood sugar levels. Over time, high blood sugar levels and the onset of diabetes may result from the pancreas’ inability to generate enough insulin to offset this resistance.

Pathogenesis

Impairment in insulin production and resistance are central to the pathophysiology of type 2 diabetes. The pancreatic beta cells secrete insulin, which is necessary to help cells absorb glucose for energy (Khan et al., 2019). Insulin resistance in people with diabetes raises blood glucose levels by impeding cells’ ability to use glucose efficiently. Furthermore, the pancreas might not be able to make enough insulin, which would worsen hyperglycemia. This persistent rise in blood sugar levels over time may cause several problems.

Morphologic Changes

Pancreatic islets are the primary site of morphologic alterations linked to diabetes. Beta cell hypertrophy, or enlargement, may occur in the early stages when the body tries to make up for insulin resistance (Norris, 2019). But if the illness worsens, apoptosis (cell death) and amyloid buildup may cause a decrease in beta-cell mass, which would lower insulin secretion.

Clinical Manifestations

Polyuria (excessive urine), polydipsia (excessive thirst), polyphagia (excessive appetite), weariness, and inexplicable weight loss are among the clinical signs of type 2 diabetes. Hyperglycemia can cause recurring infections, delayed wound healing, and hazy eyesight (Norris,2019). Chronic side effects include retinopathy, neuropathy, nephropathy, and cardiovascular disorders.

Diagnosis

There are several ways to diagnose diabetes. When two different people have fasting plasma glucose levels ≥126 mg/dL, they have diabetes. A 2-hour plasma glucose level of ≥200 mg/dL obtained from an oral glucose tolerance test validates the diagnosis (Khan et al., 2019). An HbA1c level of ≥6.5% is another requirement. Furthermore, random plasma glucose readings of 200 mg/dL or above in the presence of traditional symptoms may also indicate diabetes.

Clinical Course

Although the clinical course of type 2 diabetes varies, it usually entails increased insulin resistance and a steady decline in beta-cell activity. It is important to implement early treatments such as dietary adjustments, exercise, and lifestyle alterations. To keep blood glucose levels within the desired range, doctors may prescribe medications like insulin or oral hypoglycemic medicines (Norris, 2019). To properly manage type 2 diabetes and prevent complications, regular monitoring, adherence to the recommended treatment plan, and lifestyle adjustments are crucial. These measures also help to improve the quality of life for those who have the illness.

Comparison of The Sarah’s diabetes to Pathophysiology Research

Sarah’s account of her diabetes offers a moving comparison and link to the professional knowledge of the condition’s biology. It is clear from the conversation that diabetes is a complicated interweaving of physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual difficulties rather than just a collection of physiological problems. During the conversation, Sarah talked about the psychological impact of having to follow a rigorous routine and continuously check her blood sugar levels. Concerns about potential problems are prevalent, raising concerns about her long-term health (Hill-Briggs et al., 2021). The clinical knowledge of diabetes is consistent with this emotional load. The illness’s ongoing stress can worsen insulin resistance, starting a vicious cycle of psychological suffering that accelerates the disease’s course.

The spiritual viewpoint of Sarah is essential to her coping strategies. She finds comfort in spirituality during trying times, drawing strength from her beliefs. This mental fortitude stands in stark contrast to her body’s pathophysiological alterations (Khan et al., 2019). Despite the severe effects of diabetes on her physical condition, her spiritual beliefs give her meaning and optimism, showing the complexity of her experience. Sarah must follow a strict diet, exercise, and medication regimens daily. She manages her illness, marriage, and nursing. Her constant adaption reflects her physiological changes. Her cells resist insulin, but she is adjusting and controlling her blood sugar. Her self-control and willpower symbolize her body’s ongoing battle for equilibrium. Sarah’s social life is characterized by a community and family that are encouraging. Her children and spouse provide steadfast support, helping her to manage her illness. This social support is crucial because it reflects the body’s need for outside help—like medicine and medical attention—to stay stable amid the difficulties presented by diabetes.

Conclusion

This study emphasizes the necessity of a comprehensive strategy for treating chronic diseases that considers their emotional, psychological, and social components in addition to their physiological ones. People can genuinely improve the lives of people like Sarah by adopting this holistic viewpoint, enabling them to confront the difficulties of chronic disease with courage, dignity, and unshakable resolve.

 

 

References

Hill-Briggs, F., Adler, N. E., Berkowitz, S. A., Chin, M. H., Gary-Webb, T. L., Navas-Acien, A., … & Haire-Joshu, D. (2021). Social determinants of health and diabetes: a scientific review. Diabetes care, 44(1), 258.

Khan, R. M. M., Chua, Z. J. Y., Tan, J. C., Yang, Y., Liao, Z., & Zhao, Y. (2019). From pre-diabetes to diabetes: Diagnosis, treatments and translational research. In Medicine (Lithuania) (Vol. 55, Issue 9). https://doi.org/10.3390/medicina55090546

Norris, T. (2019). Porth’s essentials of pathophysiology. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

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