"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Racial and ethnic minority communities in danger for type 2 diabetes: Here's what we will do

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As you most likely know, type 2 diabetes has grow to be a serious health problem within the United States and all over the world. People with type 2 diabetes cannot effectively use glucose (sugar) from their food to fuel the body. As a result, blood sugar levels are continually higher than normal. Over time this could result in serious, even fatal, complications corresponding to heart disease, kidney disease, and stroke. The slow and insidious nature of persistently high blood sugar also can cause problems that interfere with quality of life, including vision changes, nerve pain and infections which can be slow to heal.

There are an estimated 415 million adults. There is diabetes worldwide, and by the 12 months 2040 this number will increase to 642 million! This is a big problem each by way of the number of individuals affected and the health consequences of untreated diabetes. Of the 30.3 million adults within the U.S. with diabetes, 23.1 million have been diagnosed and seven.2 million Undiagnosed! An even greater cause for concern are the various individuals who have high blood sugar (prediabetes) and are on the verge of developing type 2 diabetes. It is estimated that in 2015 84.1 million Americans 18 years and older had prediabetes.

Certain populations are particularly vulnerable to diabetes and its complications.

As dire because it sounds, the situation is even worse for some racial and ethnic minorities in America. Latinos/Hispanics, African Americans, American Indians, Native Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders, Arab Americans, and Asian Americans are at increased risk for diabetes and its fatal complications.

Why? There are genetic aspects that affect the flexibility of the pancreas to supply enough insulin and/or the body's ability to answer insulin. In addition, a few of these populations have a genetic tendency to build up abdominal fat (abdominal obesity). This can have metabolic consequences that increase the chance of diabetes, heart disease and other health problems. In addition, lifestyle aspects corresponding to poor nutrition and lack of physical activity result in increased rates of obesity, which is a serious risk factor for type 2 diabetes. And there are other non-medical issues that contribute to the issue. Disparities in income, education, health literacy, and access to health care can lead to otherwise treatable (or treatable) cases of diabetes. And for some, cultural aspects are barriers to stopping diabetes and managing the disease adequately.

So what to do?

If we stop the story here, you would possibly get the impression that these populations are entirely accountable for the health problems, and that there's really nothing we will do about it. But that's just not the entire story. We can see clear inequities in health care delivery that will influence the event and progression of certain chronic diseases corresponding to diabetes. In 1999, Congress asked the Institute of Medicine to review these disparities. The goal was to explore aspects that will contribute to disparities in care and to develop strategies to cut back these disparities.

This research report, Unequal Treatment: Confronting Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health Carefound that medical care varies greatly by race, even when insurance status, income, age, and severity of conditions are compared. This research indicates that American racial and ethnic minorities are less prone to receive routine medical procedures. They are also more prone to experience lower quality health services around diabetes and other conditions.

The first step to addressing these issues is to teach most of the people, health care providers, insurance firms, and policymakers about these disparities and their public health consequences. It is very necessary for health care providers across the country to concentrate on the multiple biological, social, psychological, financial and cultural aspects that influence diabetes and other diseases, and prevention for all. And routinely take them into consideration when developing treatment programs. Groups

We have come a great distance within the fight against diabetes. However, as we proceed our collective work to enhance the lives of individuals with diabetes and people in danger for the disease, we must not forget that there are others who need an additional hand. That is the correct thing to do.

Dr. Caballero was recently recognized by the City of Boston for his unwavering commitment and continued work to enhance the health of Latinos in the neighborhood.