Area of Interest
Asian Americans have the highest proportion of undiagnosed diabetes than any other ethnic group in the United States, by far. According to the CDC (2017), one in every two Asian Americans has diabetes but has never been diagnosed, which is twice the national average. Research even suggests that Asian-Americans are a “greater risk” than other population groups for developing diabetes across the lifetime (Sun, 2015). More Asians have diabetes than any other population group worldwide (Asian Diabetes Prevention Initiative, 2017). However, there are some drawbacks with studying this population group. One is that Asian Americans comprise a vastly diverse group, typically defined as being anyone with origins in South Asia (the Indian subcontinent), East Asia (China, Japan, Korea), and Southeast Asia (Vietnam, Cambodia, Singapore). This means that it may be even more difficult to narrow down causal variables and create culturally appropriate treatment interventions or public health initiatives. Yet given the high prevalence rates, nurses need to pay closer attention to how to help improve access to screenings. The high rates of undiagnosed diabetes among the Asian American population leads to increased rates of unnecessary complications and/or death, healthcare inequalities, and higher overall costs of intervention. Current screening processes are not optimized for this population. More culturally appropriate research is needed too; the vast majority of studies on diabetes prevention or treatment are conducted with Caucasian patient populations (Joslin Diabetes Center, 2017).
The biggest reason why Asian Americans are twice as likely as any other population group to remain undiagnosed is because the symptoms or early warning signs of diabetes are totally different for this population group. The most notable issue is the lower BMI threshold; “Asian Americans often develop type 2 diabetes at a lower body mass index (BMI) than other population groups (National Institutes of Health, 2015).. Most Asian Americans are not overweight, causing doctors and nurses to overlook screenings even though they “may be at greater risk” than other populations (Sun, 2015, p. 1). Therefore, healthcare workers need to routinely screen Asian American patients for diabetes.
Research Question/PICOT 1: Management of type 2 diabetes for Asian Americans newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes has been problematic (P) because of cultural attachment to Asian food that can aggravate their diabetes. Health education to implement diet and lifestyle modifications are the effective strategies to make Asian Americans eat right type of food (I),…