Diabetes And African Americans: Perfect Storm

January 21, 2008 by  
Filed under DIABETES

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Frightening Statistics For African Americans

According to National Health Interview Studies conducted from the early 1960’s to the early 1990’s, nearly three times the number of African Americans have diabetes compared to the early studies. This does not account for undiagnosed cases. Many African Americans who do not have health care, much like other races who are in the lower income brackets, do not have access to proper health care. Due to this, the number of diabetes cases are possibly double the current number. For every white person who has been diagnosed, approximately one and a half more African Americans are being diagnosed.

One in four African American women over the age of 55 has diabetes. Twenty five percent of African Americans between 65 and 74 have been diagnosed with diabetes. Out of all diabetic Americans, African Americans are more likely to develop complications than their white counterparts.

Why African Americans?

Some researchers believe that the reason more African Americans are becoming diabetic is due to their genetic heritage. In the past, Africans developed a gene that enabled their bodies to more efficiently use food and energy stores during cycles of famine. Today there is not such a demand for the use of this gene. There are not as many feast or famine cycles in the Americas, though this does not mean there are not people who experience times of scarcity. The gene may play a part in increased difficulty of weight control, which itself contributes to diabetes.

What Are Some Complications ?

As mentioned above, African Americans experience higher risk of complications than white Americans. I have included a list of some complications.

*Kidney Failure- 2.2 to 5.5 times higher.
* Visual Difficulties- %40 higher in African Americans
* Amputations- Up to %72 more likely than whites or Mexican Americans

See Your Doctor!

Whether you are African American or not, you should speak with your doctor if you have exhibited signs of diabetes. Good medical care can help you live a long and happy life, not matter your race.

Sources: Black Health Care and Web MD

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NOTE: The contents in this blog are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or a substitute for professional care. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before making changes to any existing treatment or program. Some of the information presented in this blog may already be out of date.

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