Presentation Type

Poster Presentation

Area of Focus

Life Sciences, Social Sciences

Abstract

The population of the United States and our healthcare system is in the midst of an epidemic crisis battling type 2 diabetes and prediabetes. The Center for Disease Control1 reports that 86 million people have prediabetes meaning, 1 out of 3 people will develop type 2 diabetes within their lifetime. The age of diagnosis is lowering, with more than 5,000 youth being diagnosed each year. A literature review analyzed how healthcare professionals can use current discoveries in medical research to better the health of the general population. This review consisted of over 14 journal articles published in 2015 and found the root causes for diabetes to be deeper than originally thought.

The first focus was the growing field of epigenetics and medical research with regards to prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. Recent studies revealed that chronic disease states might start before birth, giving individuals an epigenetic predisposition for obesity, insulin resistance, and diabetes. These epigenetic marks are shaped by everyday lifestyle choices and have the ability to remain stable across generations, creating a cyclical disease state. Additional research shows that healthy lifestyle changes, diet and exercise, have the ability to alter epigenetic marks, reducing disease development. Currently one of the best ways to reduce the burden of prediabetes is through early detection. Scientists are developing clinical tests that can be used by healthcare professionals to diagnose prediabetes up to ten years earlier than when using current testing methods.

The second focus was to investigate diabetes intervention programs and find ways to create a healthier U.S. population. Current disease management focuses on diagnosis and symptom treatment, which is costly and does not ultimately cure the disease. A shift towards prediabetes prevention is needed. Several studies have already used community-based participatory programs to increase public awareness of prediabetes and to implement healthy lifestyle changes. This practice needs to be expanded into widespread public health programs at both the community and population levels. Proposed ideas include the use of mainstream social media, news programs, community outreach operations, education of school-age children and implementation of workplace health promotions. These strategies need to be expanded throughout the United States in a way that will reach people of all demographics. In addition, changes in healthcare policies allowing for every individual, regardless of insurance status, to receive a free annual prediabetes screening would ensure the opportunity to address this health problem early on, reducing future complications and healthcare costs.

By using recent advances in medical research, implementing earlier testing measures and instituting diabetes prevention practices there is a hope to lessen the burden and reduce the generational pattern of this chronic disease. With the lifelong management of diabetes being extremely costly to both the healthcare system and to individuals the collective focus needs to shift towards prevention. Creating a healthier population in this generation will create positive changes to the epigenetic predisposition of future generations.

1Center for Disease Control. 2014 National diabetes statistics report. Retrieved January 18, 2016 from http://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/data/statistics/2014statisticsreport.html

Key words: epigenetics, prediabetes, type 2 diabetes, public health, clinical research, healthcare

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Apr 14th, 11:00 AM Apr 14th, 12:00 PM

Treating the Future: Our Chance to Protect the Next Generations from Diabetes

The population of the United States and our healthcare system is in the midst of an epidemic crisis battling type 2 diabetes and prediabetes. The Center for Disease Control1 reports that 86 million people have prediabetes meaning, 1 out of 3 people will develop type 2 diabetes within their lifetime. The age of diagnosis is lowering, with more than 5,000 youth being diagnosed each year. A literature review analyzed how healthcare professionals can use current discoveries in medical research to better the health of the general population. This review consisted of over 14 journal articles published in 2015 and found the root causes for diabetes to be deeper than originally thought.

The first focus was the growing field of epigenetics and medical research with regards to prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. Recent studies revealed that chronic disease states might start before birth, giving individuals an epigenetic predisposition for obesity, insulin resistance, and diabetes. These epigenetic marks are shaped by everyday lifestyle choices and have the ability to remain stable across generations, creating a cyclical disease state. Additional research shows that healthy lifestyle changes, diet and exercise, have the ability to alter epigenetic marks, reducing disease development. Currently one of the best ways to reduce the burden of prediabetes is through early detection. Scientists are developing clinical tests that can be used by healthcare professionals to diagnose prediabetes up to ten years earlier than when using current testing methods.

The second focus was to investigate diabetes intervention programs and find ways to create a healthier U.S. population. Current disease management focuses on diagnosis and symptom treatment, which is costly and does not ultimately cure the disease. A shift towards prediabetes prevention is needed. Several studies have already used community-based participatory programs to increase public awareness of prediabetes and to implement healthy lifestyle changes. This practice needs to be expanded into widespread public health programs at both the community and population levels. Proposed ideas include the use of mainstream social media, news programs, community outreach operations, education of school-age children and implementation of workplace health promotions. These strategies need to be expanded throughout the United States in a way that will reach people of all demographics. In addition, changes in healthcare policies allowing for every individual, regardless of insurance status, to receive a free annual prediabetes screening would ensure the opportunity to address this health problem early on, reducing future complications and healthcare costs.

By using recent advances in medical research, implementing earlier testing measures and instituting diabetes prevention practices there is a hope to lessen the burden and reduce the generational pattern of this chronic disease. With the lifelong management of diabetes being extremely costly to both the healthcare system and to individuals the collective focus needs to shift towards prevention. Creating a healthier population in this generation will create positive changes to the epigenetic predisposition of future generations.

1Center for Disease Control. 2014 National diabetes statistics report. Retrieved January 18, 2016 from http://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/data/statistics/2014statisticsreport.html

Key words: epigenetics, prediabetes, type 2 diabetes, public health, clinical research, healthcare