Health Sciences 1002A/B Lecture Notes - Cardiovascular Disease, Lard, Diabetes Mellitus Type 2
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HS 1002a - Class 15 - Thursday, Oct. 25
Questions on Film Series “Unnatural Causes”, Episode: Bad Sugar
This film examines the problem of Type 2 Diabetes among the Pima Indians (in Arizona) within a Social
Determinants of Health framework.
This film focuses on Type 2 Diabetes, also known as Diabetes Mellitus. This form of diabetes is
characterized by high levels of glucose in the blood and the body’s inability to regulate glucose levels
properly. Type 2 diabetes can be managed through changes to lifestyle and medication. Undiagnosed or
untreated diabetes can have serious short- and long-term complications. Diabetes affects many major
organs, including your heart, blood vessels, nerves, eyes and kidneys. Long-term complications include
cardiovascular disease, nerve damage, kidney damage, eye damage (potential blindness), and foot
damage (sometimes requiring amputation). For more information, go to:
• What are the differences in the rates of Type 2 Diabetes among the Indigenous peoples in this
film, compared to the national average in the US?
More than 7x the national average
• What impact does genetics have on the incidence of Type 2 Diabetes?
Not just one or two genes involved in diabetes that affect it, many more that are unclear.
• What evidence exists for the effects of colonization on Type 2 diabetes?
Land, culture and work disappear because of colonization, also many of the people after
colonization live below the poverty line which affects health in general and Type 2 diabetes.
Causes stress that releases chemicals such as epinephrine, which in turn produces glucose and
the body, does not have the insulin to counter act all glucose
• Through what mechanisms did colonization affect social and economic conditions, and thus the
health status, of the Pima Indians?
Water was diverted away from the Pima land, therefore they di not have the water necessary to
grow crops and survive. Unable to grow crops, work in the field, could not develop economically
because of their lack of water
• How have diabetes rates changed over time for the Pima Indians?
30 years after building the dam that takes water away from the Pima caused the diabeted rate
to go up from 1 case to over 500
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