On a Sugar High? Diabetes Rates Are on the Rise for African Americans
So often I hear from patients that they are tired of getting the same prescriptions to ward off any number of chronic conditions affecting Americans today. While it may sound like a broken record, don’t tune it out. Yes, a good diet, ample exercise and shedding those extra pounds will reduce your risk for developing heart disease and high blood pressure, but did you know these healthy living strategies can all but prevent diabetes?
Most people don’t, and that helps to explain why the prevalence of diabetes is on the rise. Nearly 30 million people are living with diabetes today, and African Americans are nearly twice as likely to be diagnosed than whites. Alarmingly, the problem is even bigger than that statistic would have you think. Once diagnosed, African Americans are far more likely to suffer the most severe complications from diabetes, making the disease that much more devastating.
Untreated, diabetes patients are twice as likely to have heart disease or a stroke, and they have a higher risk for developing kidney disease, high blood pressure, eye trouble and nerve damage. Still, African Americans with diabetes fare much worse than the rest of the population. We are far more likely to suffer blindness and amputations, for example, and more than two and a half times more likely to be diagnosed with end-stage renal disease.
Why the discrepancy? As it turns out, there are many factors. Here’s a look at what’s happening behind the scenes, and what you can do to avert this largely preventable disease.
Awareness gaps. This is true for all racial groups, but African Am Continue reading