No community in America has been untouched by struggles with weight issues and obesity, this is especially true for our nation’s fifty million Hispanic Americans. Being overweight is a major risk factor for developing Type-2 diabetes. More than one-third of adults in the United States are pre-diabetic. Pre-diabetes is a precursor to type-2 diabetes. If you’re a Hispanic American, you are at even greater risk of developing diabetes (17%), compared to non-Hispanic whites (8%), according to the CDC (Center for Disease Control).
Hispanic Americans represent a diverse group that includes people of South and Central America, Mexican, Cuban, Puerto Rican, and other Spanish cultures and races. Each has its traditions and history, some of which include dietary and other lifestyle habits that may make them more susceptible to pre-diabetes and diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association, the CDC, and other medical groups.
Diabetes is a disease in which a person’s blood glucose (or blood sugar) levels are exceedingly higher than normal. This type of sugar is found in the foods we consume. Insulin is a hormone that is responsible for moving glucose into our cells for energy production. Type-1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease where the body attacks the pancreas, so it is unable to create insulin. Type-2 diabetes means that a person’s pancreas is unable to produce enough insulin due to insulin resistance. When the body does not produce enough insulin or use insulin well, the glucose remains in the blood. The excess glucose damages the tiny veins in our eyes, kidneys, heart, and limbs, resulting in more health issues. Medications such as insulin are injected into the body to control symptoms and prevent damage caused by an exceedingly high level of glucose in the blood.
Prediabetes occurs when a person’s blood sugar level is higher than normal, but not consistently high enough yet for a diabetes diagnosis. If left untreated, prediabetes can progress into type-2 diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of the disease, a condition in which your body doesn’t use insulin properly. While some people may be able to control their blood sugar levels with a healthy diet and exercise, others may need medication to help manage their diabetes.
Many people are unaware of the extent of damage to the body that diabetes can cause. Diabetes can lead to serious health problems like heart disease, blindness, kidney failure, and foot amputations. Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States. Moreover, diabetes complications are more severe among Hispanics, who have higher rates of vision loss and kidney failure.
Fortunately, diabetes can be managed and to some degree, prevented. A well-balanced healthy diet is essential. Losing weight or maintaining a healthy weight is also very important, as is a daily routine that includes consistent physical activity.
While some people find that they have no symptoms, it does not mean that they will not suffer health issues in the future. Unfortunately, many people struggle to gain control of their disease on their own. At River Bend Medical Associates, we are dedicated to educating our patients about diabetes prevention, treatments, and lifestyle management. Our healthcare approach emphasizes kindness and respect in communicating with all of our patients. If you have been diagnosed with diabetes or you suspect you may have it, please call our family practice or go to the “Contact Us” page here on our website for more information about how River Bend Medical Associates can help.