Diabetes and Hispanics – Important information to keep in mind
According to two studies published in the August issue of Diabetes Care ®, people of Hispanic and Latino origin have a high risk of developing type 2 diabetes and related cardiometabolic abnormalities. But this risk varies considerably between different and specific ethnic groups, adding other factors such as time of residence in the United States.
Another study also published in the August issue details job stress as a risk factor for type 2 diabetes in men and women, independent of their lifestyle.
Diabetes is a chronic illness that occurs because the pancreas does not make enough insulin (Main hormone responsible for regulating adequate levels of sugar in the blood) the body needs, or it may be of inferior quality. When this occurs, it causes an excessive amount of sugar in the blood (Hyperglycemic).
The chance of contracting diabetes increases with age. The moment the illness appears, including the causes and symptoms presented by patients, depends on the type of diabetes in question.
Type 1 Diabetes: More frequent during infancy, adolescence and the first years of an adult’s life. Its onslaught is usually abrupt and independent of family history. This is due to the progressive destruction of the pancreatic cells that produces insulin, so hormones should be administered from the start.
Type 2 Diabetes: This is much more frequent that diabetes type 1 and usually appears in older individuals. It is frequently hereditary and treatment can vary from pills to insulin or both.
Gestational diabetes. This can happen during pregnancy. It is treatable and considered occasional.
Of course in the case of type 2 diabetes, no symptoms are noticeable at the time, which is more common with type 1 diabetes. In any case, it can be diagnosed with a urine or blood sample, which indicates a high level of sugar.
Some symptoms are:
- Urinating with frequency
- Unusual hunger.
- Excessive thirst.
- Weakness or tiredness.
- Weight loss.
- Feeling sick in the stomach and vomiting.
- Frequent infections.
- Blurred vision.
- Poor or slow healing abilities
- Itching or numbness in extremities.
In the United States there are more than 50 million Hispanics / Latinos making up approximately 16 % of the population. The Census office of the United States estimates that by 2050, one in three people who live in the United States will be Hispanic / Latino origin.
The Hispanic community health study / Study of Latinos (HCHS / SOL), was launched by the National Heart, Lungs and Blood institute. Its function in part, is to discover the prevalence and development of chronic diseases like diabetes between diverse members of the population. This study showed the resulting disparities between different Hispanic groups in relation to diabetes, and a low rate of awareness over the disease.
This study also found the prevalence of total diabetes (Diagnosed and undiagnosed) between all the Hispanic groups was approximately 16, 9 % for men and women. And 10, 2 % for Whites and non-Hispanics. If this statistic is observed individually, the rate varied to a maximum of 18, 3 % for Mexicans and a minimum of 10, 2 % for individuals of South American descent.
The rate also dropped dramatically with age, to more than 50 % for Hispanic women around 70 years of age and 44, 3 % for men between 70-74 years of age. The study also showed the economic and educational position (low) and time of residence in the United States (high) was more of a determining factor to develop type 2 diabetes.
“The picture that emerges from HCHS/SOL is one in which Hispanics/Latinos with diabetes have a high potential future risk of developing complications due to relatively poor glycemic control and diabetes management,” said Neil Schneiderman, PhD, main investigator of HCHS / SOL.
For type 2 diabetes certain measures are taken to avoid it, like adopting healthier habits whether physical or psychological:
- Eat healthy and avoid overweight
- Daily physical activity needed
- Eliminate toxins like tobacco and excessive alcohol.
- Try to manage job stress
It is important that once the disease is diagnosed to continue treatment and take the prescribed medication to prevent disorders and complications.
If you are in doubt and still present some symptoms, consult a doctor. Try to get a blood and urine test at least once per year to avoid developing chronic diseases or treat them on time.
Get informed and take care!