Diabetes is one of the most recognized chronic diseases that have become an epidemic around the world. In 2013, data collected (Fast Facts Data and Statistics about Diabetes, 2013)d by the American Diabetes Association stated that nearly 26 million adults and children have diabetes. Out of which racially, 16.1% of total adult American Indian and Alaskan Native people have diagnosed diabetes (Fast Facts Data and Statistics about Diabetes, 2013).
The documentary titled ‘bad sugar’ enlisted on the website unnatural causes describes the as having the highest rate in the world of type II diabetes, in the Tohono O’Odham American Indian Tribe in the south of Phoenix, Arizona and the Gila River Reservation Tribe, Pima (Bad Sugar, 2008).
The documentary describes the economic, political, social and physical structures as important determinants of health. Unfortunately these tribes are deprived of these determinants where rates are seven times higher than national average, with half the population having type II diabetes and rates in children escalating rapidly.
The people of Tohono O’Odham American Indian Tribe although thrived in the desert had good sources of nutrition with local crops and game for hundreds of years but in the present depict a different picture. People are generally depressed due to the increase in diabetes and have accepted the fact that they are as much prone to it as any other family member, witnessing deaths of loved either due to the disease or due to complications during amputations. The people of Pima, although based alongside a river, come from the same tribe and cultivated crops with adequate irrigation, but now suffer from type II diabetes as well.
Researchers have speculated the reason for this higher prevalence as a particular genetic predisposition in the people of Tohono O’Odham, different from others around. The National Institute of Health collected data in the form of tissue biopsies, blood samples and medical histories, however Peter Bennet (researcher, National Institute of Health) describes as the intricate nature of genes in this community that does not provide the answer to the highest rates. Moreover mentioning the high prevalence of diabetes in pacific islanders, aboriginals, and African Americans concerns an epidemiologist from UC Berkeley S. Leonard Syme who questioned the common denominator of in the manifestation of such a deadly chronic disease.
Poverty and Lack of Water
Poverty in this community is the major risk factor attributed by Dr. Donald Warne who is president and CEO of the American Indian Health management and policy and has been treating this tribe for a long time. Dr. Donald Warne explains that extreme poverty consequently leading to chronic stress generates high levels of cortisol, epinephrine and adrenaline which increase blood sugar levels. The body compensates by an increased secretion of insulin to convert sugar to energy but the energy produced is not sufficient...