Medicine and Health Sciences


Diabetes mellitus is a serious health condition throughout the community and it remains a primary focus in the public health industry. In fact, because the condition grew into an epidemic problem, Healthy People 2020 began focusing on its reduction. Diabetes is characterized as a metabolic disease which affects the pancreas’ function to produce insulin or the body’s ability to utilize insulin. Frequently, it acts as a precursor to the development of multiple co-morbidities in patients, especially kidney disease. Tiny blood vessels in the kidneys often fall prey to the harm of uncontrolled diabetes and lead much of the diabetic population down the road towards the need for hemodialysis. According to Healthy People 2020, “2,645.0 persons with diabetes per million population reported kidney failure due to diabetes in 2007” (Healthy People, 2013). It has become a community goal to decrease those numbers by the year 2020, which gives way to the questions: why is it such an issue and what can the nursing community do to help?

Frequently, newly diagnosed diabetic patients face an insurmountable mountain of information regarding their disease. Patients are discharged with piles of reading material full of medical jargon instructing them to reduce their blood pressure, change their diets, and increase their physical activity. They are armed with brochures which try to explain how the disease works and the multiple factors which need to be monitored and controlled to reduce the possibility of kidney disease. All too often, patients leave hospitals and physician offices with insufficient knowledge of the new change in their lives. It becomes a challenge for the public health community to foster learning among the diabetic population and to assist patients in finding resources to meet their needs.

For this reason, I worked throughout the Winter, 2016 semester to conduct extensive evidence-based research to fully understand and compile the information regarding diabetes and kidney disease. I was able to construct a website with community-friendly information, which allows patients with diabetes to understand key aspects of their disease process and provides resources available in the Grand Rapids area, Michigan, and the United States. It is my hope that this will act as a useful tool to aid in the reduction of the incidence of kidney disease due to uncontrolled diabetes and the eventual need for dialysis.