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Diabetes and the Hispanic American Woman

By HERWriter
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Diabetes  related image Photo: Getty Images

Hispanic American women are two or three times more likely than non-Hispanic American women to develop diabetes.

When the body is unable to create or use insulin properly, the result is diabetes.

The body needs insulin to transform food into energy. When it's unable to perform this function, a variety of health problems can begin to appear.

Diabetes may show itself through fatigue, irritability, vision problems or unusual weight fluctuation. Thirst, hunger and urination may all increase to exceptional levels.

More serious chronic symptoms of diabetes are heart problems, poor circulation sometimes leading to amputation, and stroke. When left untreated, diabetes can end in death.

Risk factors for type 2 diabetes in Hispanic American women are obesity, lack of physical activity, family history of diabetes, and glucose tolerance problems.

Mexican American women are also more likely than non-Hispanic American women to have gestational diabetes. A history of gestational diabetes may also be a risk factor.

Gestational diabetes is a form of diabetes that may develop during pregnancy. Women with a family history of diabetes, or who are obese, are at higher risk. About 50 percent of women who get gestational diabetes are at risk for type 2 diabetes within the next 20 years.

Hispanic Americans are more harshly dealt with by diabetes complication than other groups. They experience more nephropathy (kidney disease) and retinopathy (eye disease) which can eventually result in blindness. They are more prone to peripheral vascular disease which can result in ulcers and amputation of the lower extremities, like toes or feet.

The San Antonio Heart Study indicated that Mexican American diabetics suffer end-stage kidney disease six times more often than non-Hispanics. They are also vulnerable to retinopathy three times more often than non-Hispanics.

Hispanic American women tend to get diabetes younger than non-Hispanics in the United States. Hispanic rates are 3.2 percent as compared to non-Hispanic rates of 1.3 percent, according to the CDC website.

When obesity is factored in, the Hispanic rate for diabetes is double that of the non-Hispanic rate.For Hispanic American females born in 2000, the risk for diabetes at some point is over 50 percent. Non-Hispanic rates for this is lower, at about 30 percent.

Hispanic American women who are experiencing symptoms that could mean they have diabetes, should see a doctor as soon as possible. While diabetes is a serious health condition, treatment and lifestyle changes can reduce the symptoms and improve their quality of life. Increased exercise and eating a healthy diet can reduce symptoms.


Prevalence of Diabetes among Hispanics In Six U.S. Geographic Locations. CDC.gov. Web. October 2, 2011.

Diabetes Mellitus in Hispanic Women. Rightdiagnosis.com. Web. October 2, 2011.

Statistics About Diabetes. Medicalcenter.osu.edu. Web. October 2, 2011.

What Is Diabetes? Wisegeek.com. Web. October 2, 2011.

Visit Jody's website and blog at http://www.ncubator.ca and http://ncubator.ca/blogger

Reviewed October 4, 2011
by Michele Blacksberg RN

Add a Comment4 Comments

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October 4, 2011 - 1:33pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.



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