“Every year more Hispanics are diagnosed with diabetes, making this disease an epidemic among Hispanics. Diabetes is one of the leading causes of death and disability in the United States. It is the sixth leading cause of death among Hispanics in the United States and the fourth leading cause of death among Hispanic women and the elderly. Hispanics are more likely to develop diabetes than to the general population and is estimated that 2.5 million Latino Americans aged 20 and older have diabetes mellitus as well as undiagnosed diabetes. Diabetes is a group of diseases marked by high levels of blood glucose resulting from defects in insulin production, insulin action, or both and is commonly be associated with family history of diabetes, age older than 45, pregnancy, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and obesity which are found in many Hispanics. If not treated, diabetes can lead to serious complications such as heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, high blood pressure, blindness and amputations.
Diabetes is classified into two types of diabetes, type 1 and type 2. Type 1 is the destruction of the body’s insulin and type 2 which is common in Hispanics is the lack of sufficient production of the body’s insulin. Symptoms of type 1 diabetes are increased thirst and urination, constant hunger, weight loss, blurred vision and extreme fatigue, which usually develop over a short period of time. If type 2 diabetes formerly called adult-onset diabetes, occurs when the body does not make enough insulin or cannot use the insulin effectively. This form of diabetes usually develops in adults over the age of 40. The symptoms of type 2 diabetes are feeling tired or ill, unusual thirst, frequent urination (especially at night), weight loss, frequent infections and slow-healing wounds. Some people have no symptoms.
Diabetes cannot be cured, but it is possible to control diabetes through medical management and lifestyle changes such as eating healthy diet and setting daily exercise. Studies have shown that moderate amounts of exercise and healthy diet can delay and possibly prevent Type 2 diabetes.
According to Dr. Zorba Paster, author of “The Longevity Code”, the prevalence of diabetes in Hispanics is largely because of social injustices for minorities, “Racial minorities are disproportionately poor and uneducated, and according to the National Center for Health Statistics, the poor and uneducated die younger and suffer more health problems than people with higher wealth and education.” Latinos must become aware of all the aspects of diabetes: what the disease is, what it does to their bodies, how to prevent it and how to treat or reverse it if they already have it.
At Roya Family Medical Center we can diagnose diabetes by performing a screening test to measure the amount of sugar in your blood. Please contact the clinic if you start feeling very thirsty and urinating more, if you are having blurry vision or are having sores that are slow to heal. Diabetes is not like other health problems. It doesn’t go away like cold or the flu. You are responsible for treating the diabetes.”
Michelle J. Alexandre, MD