Diabetes has had a profound affect on the African American community. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that close to 19 percent of African Americans over the age of 20 have diabetes; close to 5 million people. Included in 19 percent is a high percentage of African Americans who are unaware they have diabetes.
Women, in general, who have developed gestational diabetes have a 35 – 60 percent chance in developing diabetes in the next 10 -20 years.
Treatment for diabetes includes various options including insulin only, insulin & oral medication, oral medication only and no medication. According to data from a 2007-2009 National Health Survey close to 60 percent of those who are treated for diabetes take oral medication only.
In 2007, diabetes was the seventh leading cause of death in the United States but some studies suggest that it is likely to be underreported; meaning its possible more people have died from diabetes but reported as an underlying cause of death.
The risk of death for those with diabetes is twice that of people who are close in age but without diabetes.
The cost of medical expenses for diabetes in the United States is overwhelming with direct and indirect costs close to $200 billion in 2007. Studies have shown that those with diabetes have medical expenses that are 2 times higher that those without diabetes.
Diabetes has been known to cause a string of complications in the United States in recent years:
- 68 percent of diabetes-related deaths in 2004 were connected to heart disease in adults 65 and older.
- Adults have higher risks of heart disease that is 2 to 4 times more than those without diabetes.
- Increase blood pressure levels, increasing the likelihood of hypertension.
- Leading cause of new blindness cases in adults ages 20-74.
- Contributed to 44 percent of new kidney failure cases in 2008.
- Increase in reports of nerve disease and cases of lower-extremity amputations. Close to 66,000 people had non-traumatic lower-limb amputations performed in 2006.
Diabetes has also been known to have affects on dental health and pregnancy. Preventing diabetes complications include taking steps to manage and control your health condition. Understand and know how to control glucose, blood pressure and learn preventative care practices for eyes, feet and kidneys. Eating a healthy balanced diet, incorporating exercise into your daily routine and working with a physician are a few steps that can go a long way in improving your health.