Diabetes And Indigenous Australians Research Paper

Length: 7 pages Sources: 9 Subject: Family and Marriage Type: Research Paper Paper: #25859858 Related Topics: Australian Aboriginals, Diabetes Mellitus, Diabetes, Australian
Excerpt from Research Paper :

Indigenous Australians and Diabetes

In Adelaide the first case of diabetes in Indigenous people was noted in 1923. The records clearly show that Indigenous people didn't diagnose diabetes at the time as they were fit, lean and in good shape. Apart from that, they didn't have any metabolic ailment at the time. Till the 1960's, the estimates of diabetes in Indigenous people weren't taken and no investigation done until then. Then a connection was found between indigenous population and westernized living in the population as type-2 diabetes was slowly starting to materialize. Since then, type 2 diabetes has been deemed as the most worrying health problems in Australia as the probability of it being in the population is four times (Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet, 2007a).

Diabetes and the afflicted person

Diabetes can affect a person in many ways as shown below:



Daily life



Physically (Shaw, 2012)

Physical impact of diabetes

This is known as denial when diabetics think they are suffering from diabetes alone. The fact of the matter is that they are prone to diagnose many other illnesses in the course of time such as blindness, gum disease, heart attack, kidney failure, face blindness, high blood pressure and stroke (Shaw, 2012).

Complicated diabetes

Diabetes is a slow killer. The medicines along with diabetes slowly kill the afflicted person. After a period of years, the afflicted person starts to develop these illnesses (Shaw, 2012):

Kidney disease

Eye disease

Nerve disease

Cardiovascular disease

Four people out of five people will diagnose these illnesses (Shaw, 2012).

Other problems

There are a number of health problems being faced such as:

Erectile dysfunction

High inflammation

Fatigue Alzheimer

Blood pressure

High cholesterol


Gum disease (Shaw, 2012)

The financial impact

The diabetes patients don't realize that they will have to endure additional costs which are a side effect of diabetes. As a result, there are tons of additional tests such as (Shaw, 2012):

Medical tests

Test strips


Intensive care

Post operation work

Hospice care

The emotional impact

Diabetes is a severe emotion strainer. This means that with low sugar and uneven blood sugar levels, the person will get angry, aggravated and impatient not to mention causing discomfort everywhere. The sudden surge of emotions and behavior changes affects the family members as well (Shaw, 2012).

Mental effects

The afflicted person is constantly troubled with mixed feelings. The anger and surge of emotions are uncontrollable (Shaw, 2012).


Denial is one problem the afflicted people are in constantly. They don't want to view the reality in their faces as it's too troublesome. They are looking at various illnesses. They will diagnose at some time in their lives (Shaw, 2012).


Fear is another factor here. The family members are constantly afraid of diagnosing more ailments as diabetes is now present in the person. The afflicted person is fearing death and a complicated lifestyle (Shaw, 2012).

Section 2: Impact on family of diabetes

The family dynamics

The family dynamics take a turn for the worst when one person in the family gets all the attention. Furthermore, the diabetic family member may get preferential treatment not just in terms of what he/she eats but may also get to avoid the house errands. Furthermore, parents with diabetes need help from others around, which could end up disturbing the conventional family roles and responsibilities. All of this shifts may cause large scale disturbances and stir up negative emotions like hate and jealousy (Shaw, 2012).

Occasionally, the whole family's timetable might get altered in case the diabetic patient's incapability to take part in a particular function. Furthermore, in case the diabetic patient refuses to look at the big picture and does not self-regulate in terms of food and timely medicine intake then the entire family may end up struggling as a result. One family member may become too aggressive in trying to enforce and another may get edgy and jittery of the frequent squabble and may think that the diabetic...


Family hangouts and private lives are ruined with attendance being necessary at hospital stays, doctor visits and blood glucose supervision. Wife and children may need to alter their lifestyle too as a result of novel mealtime preparations. Simple pleasures of life are soon lost such as weddings, picnics and movie nights and this could lead to anger, frustration and boredom (Shaw, 2012).

Excessive communication

The family members will need to constantly remind the patient that he/she needs to take timely medicines, maintain a healthy diet and some form of exercise schedule. This will create an air of uncomfortable irritation for the patient as a feeling of being scolded like a child may creep in. Intra-family communication may disintegrate as a result of trying to adjust to issues pertinent to diabetes (Shaw, 2012).

Mealtime schedules

The family members will need to revise their diet now. They will be eating vegetables, fresh fruits and fried foods for that matter. But, these foods are better for both diabetic and non-diabetic members. It's way better than snacks and junk food. Days of cold drinks, cakes, pizzas and burgers are long gone (Shaw, 2012).

Section 3: Impact on population

There are three ways of measuring the impact of diabetes in the indigenous Australian population. The first way is to measure and review the prevalence of this disease within this population. The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) carries out research on estimates of diabetes. High level of sugar is reported to be amongst the indigenous Australian population at six percent (around 30,000 individuals) and they are more than three times likely to report diabetes as opposed to non-indigenous Australians. In case of population aged between 15 and 24 the ratio is 2.0 with indigenous being 1.0 and non-indigenous being 0.5. In case of population aged between 25 and 34 the ratio is 7.2 with indigenous being 4.3 and non-indigenous being 0.6. Similarly, in case of population aged between 35 and 44 the ratio is 5.0 with indigenous being 10.0 and non-indigenous being 2.0. Clearly prevalence of diabetes is more commonly seen in the indigenous population than in non-indigenous population (Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet, 2007a).

The second element of measuring impact on population is to review the factors that contribute to enhanced diabetes prevalence amid this Indigenous population. A number of studies have shown that there is common link between higher levels of obesity and obesity amongst the Indigenous population. Furthermore, studies also link lack of physical activity as another major contributor to higher levels of diabetes (Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet, 2007a).

The third element that can help measure the impact of diabetes is other diseases that materialized as a result of diabetes. Here studies show that the most common diseases materialized are retinopathy, renal disease, infections, heart disease, neuropathy and cerebro-vascular disease (along with a number of other minor problems) (Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet, 2007a).

Section 4: Nurses and implications

Cultural awareness: In dealing with indigenous Australians, it is clear from the above data that obesity and lack of physical activity is the main cause of diabetes amid this population. Therefore, subsequent to initial diabetic diagnosis it is vital for the nurse to take into consideration their social behavior as well as lack of physical activity. Indigenous Australians dealing with diabetes generally think they have been distressed by some major ailment and once this has been confirmed that an individual has been inflicted by diabetes then certain common emotions such as fear, panic, relating to the disease, etc. materializes within the patient as well as his family.

Later on additionally it influences the individual's life as the person loses his/her self-control, self-esteem, self belief, trust, and insufficient interest, as well as contribution. Steadily, it's noticed that the person also senses his loss of persona as well as comfort (Shaw, 2012). Patient's substantial loss of cognitive skills like being unable to perform ordinary things or getting reliant on other individuals for needs fulfillment, will significantly hinder social life which involves close friends, households, activities, job, opportunities, sports activities and numerous such elements. Health may also be at danger as there's higher likelihood of fall in nutrients, individual hygiene, getting annoyed, likeliness of being overlooked, abuse as well as exploitation. Likewise it will additionally impact emotionally whereby the affected individuals feel overlooked physically, emotionally, sexually and also there's higher probability of patient hurting himself or other individuals (Indigenous HealthInfoNet, 2007a).

Culture may be defined as how people and communities have a tendency to resolve their issues. Being culturally conscious indicates coping with and treating people while bearing in mind their cultural sensitivities (Tucker et al. 2011). Singh et al. (2007) points out that nurses have to adequately inform the family members as well as the particular person about the health ramifications of not working out regularly and sustaining a non-healthy diet plan. Responsibilities have to be assigned to individuals within the family to ensure that confusion and overloading…

Sources Used in Documents:


Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2006) The health and welfare of Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples 2006. Canberra: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare and the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet (2007a) Review of diabetes among Indigenous peoples. Retrieved June 7, 2014 from http://www.healthinfonet.ecu.edu.au/chronic-conditions/diabetes/reviews/our-review

Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet (2007b) Background information on Diabetes. Retrieved June 7, 2014 from http://www.healthinfonet.ecu.edu.au/chronic-conditions/diabetes/reviews/background-information

Bhattacharyya et al. (2002). Inpatient management of diabetes mellitus and patient satisfaction. Diabetic medicine: A journal of the British Diabetic Association, 19 (5), 412-416.
Shaw, J. (2012). Diabetes: the silent pandemic and its impact on Australia. Retrieved June 7, 2014 from http://www.diabetesaustralia.com.au/Documents/DA/What%27s%20New/12.03.14%20Diabetes%20management%20booklet%20FINAL.pdf

Cite this Document:

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