Equitable Health Care
People of Hispanic/Latino origin make up over 50 million inhabitants of the United States (Alexandria, 2014). This fastest-growing minority group included 48.4 million in 2009 while five years earlier there were 41.3 million Hispanic people in the country (Myrtle, 2012). According to the US Census Bureau, Hispanics comprise individuals with various identities, those of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, or other Spanish origin or culture (Myrtle, 2012).
In 2010, it provided the following figures concerning the U.S. Hispanic/Latino population diversity: 63.0% Mexicans, 9.2% Puerto Ricans, 7.9% Central Americans, 5.5% South Americans, 3.5% Cubans, and 2.8% Dominicans (Schneiderman et al., 2014). Myrtle (2012) adds that there are individuals of various races among Hispanics, such as Black, White, American Indian, and Asian.
In spite of their long history in the United States and struggle for civil rights, all of them, even White, are considered "people of color" and experience discrimination, misperceptions, and stereotypes due to such factors as ethnicity, race, skin color, and minority group status (Myrtle, 2012). The current position statement aims to advocate for accessible health care for the Hispanic population, particularly in the issue of diabetes disparity.
Hispanic Community Health Study
The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute initiated the Hispanic Community Health Study to reveal the chronic diseases (like diabetes) among these minority populations (Schneiderman et al., 2014). First of all, it should be noted that diabetes belongs to serious, dangerous diseases with grave complications and the great possibility of premature death. It is caused by defects in insulin production, which can lead to a high level of blood glucose (National Diabetes Education Program, n.d.).
At the same time, it is important to admit that one can and has to take measures aimed at preventing complications and keeping the disease under control. It is important to distinguish between type 1 and type 2 diabetes. The first one (5%-10% of cases), which is likely to begin at an early age, is associated with severe immune system disorders and can lead to a coma if untreated. Among the symptoms, one can name: "increased thirst and urination, constant hunger, weight loss, blurred vision, and extreme fatigue" (National Diabetes Education Program, n.d.).
As a matter of fact, 90%-95% of all the cases are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, which ensues when the body does not produce enough insulin or cannot use it. Typically, it develops after the age of 40 but is more and more encountered among children and adolescents. The symptoms may be similar to type 1 diabetes but not so noticeable (National Diabetes Education Program, n.d.).
What is significant to underline, is that being a member of the Hispanic minority group is among the factors, which are considered to be favorable for developing type 2 diabetes. These conditions include inheritance, obesity, high blood pressure, and cholesterol level, passive lifestyle, blood vessel problems, and others (National Diabetes Education Program, n.d.).
National Alliance for Hispanic Health
The health disparity under analysis has a significant impact on the Hispanic population. At present, there is a striking level of diabetes prevalence among people of Latino origin. Furthermore, in the future, the number of affected Hispanic population will still grow due to the correlation between the growth of a general number of this minority group and the number of elderly people. The number of people aged 65+ is more likely to develop diabetes, and so, the Hispanics of 65 and older are predicted to grow from 6% to 18% (three times as much) by 2050 (National Alliance for Hispanic Health, n.d.).
This growth rate is faster than for any other racial or ethnic group of older people. Thus, Hispanics encounter health care barriers that contribute to the gravity of the situation with the prevention and treatment of the disease. For instance, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality detected that Hispanics had issues associated with the access and provision of diabetes care, language, and financial barriers (National Alliance for Hispanic Health, n.d.).
Consequently, the rates of diabetes morbidity and mortality grew, as well as its possible complications. In addition, the National Alliance for Hispanic Health claims that Hispanics require more assistance in the identification of their risk status along with interventions concerning lifestyle and access screening (National Alliance for Hispanic Health, n.d.).
Diabetes in the United States
On the whole, diabetes in the United States is one of the diseases with the highest risk of deaths and disabilities. Thus, the National Diabetes Education Program mentions the expenditure of $174 on the treatment of diabetes per year (National Diabetes Education Program, n.d.). Furthermore, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that in 2007, 24 million Americans (8%) had this disorder, and 57 million had pre-diabetes (National Alliance for Hispanic Health, n.d.).
However, some ethnic communities have a higher risk of developing diabetes. Here belong Hispanic populations who tend to acquire the disease twice as often as non-Hispanic whites and experience higher mortality. The reasons for a more considerable prevalence of diabetes among the people of this ethnicity are more frequent cases of obesity, lower rates of physical exercise, higher cholesterol levels, poorer eating habits, and family history (National Alliance for Hispanic Health, n.d.).
Along with that fact, Alexandria (2014) points out that the Hispanic Community Health Study demonstrated the presence of diversity among Latinos in the prevalence of diabetes. For instance, out of the total 16.9% of the whole group, Mexicans have 18.3 while South Americans - 10.2%. The study also showed that 18.1% of Dominicans and Puerto Ricans, 17.7% of Central Americans, and 13.4 of Cubans had type 2 diabetes.
Moreover, the study revealed a low level of health insurance, diabetes awareness, and disease control among the Latino minority group. Specifically, the participants had poor glycemic control (52%) along with lacking health insurance (47.9%). The disease rose with age. As the study asserted, 50% of women got diabetes by the age of 70 and 44.3% of men by the time they were 70-74. One more finding showed that better education and higher income negatively correlated with diabetes prevalence (Alexandria, 2014).
American Nurses Association
One of the most influential organizations in the nursing community, the American Nurses Association (ANA) strongly advocates for equal rights and access to high-quality health care for immigrants, both documented and undocumented (ANA Issue Brief, n.d.). The strongest argument it suggests, based on evidence, runs that permitting this population to receive insurance will benefit the U. S. health care system though political rhetoric may claim the opposite. ANA is resolute as to its policy and aims at educating nurses to support the access to health care services for all groups, including undocumented immigrants, primarily regarding considerable social, economic, and political ramifications associated with the care of these populations.
Specifically, ANA informs that the rate of their poverty rose from 23.3% in 2008 to 25.1% in 2009, which results in higher risks for health and the lack of insurance. In 2010, ANA affirmed its straightforward position concerning the necessity of equal access to high-quality care for all the United States population. It emphasized that health care belongs to basic human rights for all human beings, without any exception. In this statement, ANA grounds ethical responsibility, which prompts to defend the dignity of all people irrespective of their minority, ethnic, or racial status.
So, the most powerful association of nurses advocates for change and improvement of the policies in the U.S. health sector, particularly, as far as accessibility, quality, and cost of health care are concerned. It demands that health reform should be expanded and urges nurses and other nursing organizations to advocate for immigrants, their families, and the whole communities. The tasks distinguished by the ANA include being attentive to their needs, helping them receive available health care resources, and ensuring culturally competent care (ANA Issue Brief, n.d.).
All things and facts considered, my position proclaims the introduction and implementation of effective public health policies for the improvement of diabetes prevention among Hispanic minority populations.
- First of all, it is vital to advocate for the needs and equal access to the help of this consideration in the American community ethnic group, whose number is continuing to grow significantly. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, every third American citizen will originate from the Latino culture by 2050 (Alexandria, 2014). Everyone would agree that it is a considerable part of our population, and so, they contribute much to the state of the nation's health as a whole.
Moreover, our Constitution has for more than 200 years proclaimed the greatest value of human life, health, and well-being. In the same way, it emphasizes the equality of human rights, freedoms, and liberties for every single citizen of the country. It means that neither the color of skin nor any other sign of the other culture is an excuse for diminishing the rights or opportunities for the well-being of Hispanic or any other minority status group.
- Second, taking the aforementioned arguments into account, I stress the need to advocate for creating conditions, developing appropriate, efficient programs and strategies for elevating the rates of diabetes awareness among the Hispanic population. In the first place, one must focus on educating those having a low household income. This measure is prompted by the conclusions of the Hispanic Community Health Study (Schneiderman et al., 2014).
- Third, another important suggestion would be establishing more effective diabetes control since it is claimed to be of a low rate at present (Schneiderman et al., 2014). At the same time, it is possible to reduce the complications of diabetes through responsible, constant care, including regular checking blood glucose, blood pressure, as well as cholesterol level (National Diabetes Education Program, n.d.).
Finally, it is necessary to introduce active measures aimed at detecting risk groups (such as obese or pre-diabetics) and take steps to prevent the development of the disease.