When you think of diabetes, you probably don’t think of it being a disease that affects only African Americans. However, this is the unfortunate truth. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), African Americans are twice as likely to be diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes than other populations, and they have a higher risk of complications from the disease.
Introduction to Type 2 Diabetes
Diabetes is a chronic condition that affects how the body uses blood sugar (glucose). Glucose comes from food and is used for energy. To utilize glucose, the pancreas makes a hormone called insulin to help move glucose from the blood into the cells to give energy. Without it, the blood sugar level rises, which can lead to serious health issues if not treated properly.
There are two types of diabetes: type 1 and type 2. In type 1 diabetes (formerly called juvenile-onset diabetes), the body does not produce enough insulin to control blood glucose levels. While in type 2 diabetes (formerly called adult-onset), the body does not produce enough insulin or does not make good use of the insulin it produces.
The most common form of diabetes is type 2 diabetes and it occurs when the body becomes resistant to insulin or when the pancreas stops producing enough insulin.
It is estimated that over 90% of all diagnosed cases of diabetes are type 2.
Causes of Type 2 Diabetes in African Americans
The causes of Type 2 diabetes in African Americans are a combination of factors. These include;
- A family history of diabetes and/or obesity
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Other health conditions.
The risk of developing Type 2 diabetes increases with age, so it is more common in those over 40 years old.
A family history of Type 2 diabetes or obesity can also increase the chances of getting this disease as well as environmental factors such as being overweight or obese which may also increase your risk for developing type 2 diabetes.
Living a sedentary lifestyle with little or no physical activity increases the chances of type 2 diabetes.
Other health conditions
People with other health conditions like high blood pressure or cholesterol levels also have an increased risk of developing this condition.
Dangers of Type 2 Diabetes in African Americans
Although the American Diabetes Association estimates that approximately 30 million people have type 2 diabetes in the United States alone, African Americans are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than other racial groups.
With this number growing every year due to obesity rates rising in the country, it’s important for everyone – especially African Americans to understand what causes this disease and how to prevent it from happening in our lives or our loved ones because they may find it harder to manage their blood glucose levels because of cultural beliefs about weight loss and dieting, as well as limited access to healthcare providers who specialize in treating diabetes.
It is estimated that 1 in 3 African Americans has diabetes or prediabetes. Prediabetes is defined as having higher than normal blood glucose levels but not yet meeting the criteria for diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. To prevent the progression from prediabetes to type 2 diabetes, doctors recommend healthy lifestyle changes such as losing weight, eating healthy foods, and getting regular physical activity.
African Americans with type 2 diabetes are twice as likely as whites to have a stroke or heart attack within the first five years after being diagnosed with the disease. They also have higher rates of kidney failure and amputations due to nerve damage in their feet caused by poor circulation in the lower limbs (diabetic neuropathy).
There is some good news about this though! Controlling your lifestyle habits like dieting/exercise routine regularly along with taking medications prescribed by a doctor should help reduce the risk factors associated with cardiovascular diseases among African Americans who suffer from type 2 diabetes mellitus.
Conditions Related To Type 2 Diabetes
Several diseases may make it harder to manage type 2 diabetes in African Americans. These include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and kidney disease.
Other conditions can also make it more difficult to control type 2 diabetes in African Americans:
- Heart problems, including heart failure (a weakening of the heart muscle), are more likely in people with diabetes than in those without it. For an individual with heart failure, managing their blood sugar levels will help keep the kidneys healthy and prevent complications like kidney failure or stroke.
- Diabetes complications include nerve damage, vision loss (diabetic retinopathy), eye infections that can lead to blindness (diabetic retinopathy), chronic skin ulcers (peripheral neuropathy), and gum disease that leads to tooth loss over time if not treated properly; these all occur much more frequently in people with poorly-controlled blood sugar levels than those who keep their blood sugar under control through daily self-checks of fasting glucose levels as well as regular visits with their doctor where they get advice on diet changes/exercise routines etcetera.
- Foot problems are common for people with diabetes, especially among African-Americans.
- Research shows African-Americans with diabetes are more likely to have foot problems than non-Hispanic white patients. About one in five African Americans with diabetes have nerve damage that makes it difficult to feel pain, heat, or cold in the feet. Diabetes can also reduce blood flow to the feet, making it harder for cuts or blisters to heal.
- If you are diabetic, always check your feet for redness or swelling each day when you get up and at other times during the day if you notice any changes such as a sharp pain while walking (a possible sign of a blister) or an odor from the skin (another possible sign of infection). Talk with your doctor if you think that you may have a problem with one of your feet.
Prevention of Type 2 Diabetes in African Americans
- Exercise: The American Diabetes Association recommends that you get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity each week.
- Lose weight: If you are overweight or obese, weight loss can help improve your body’s sensitivity to insulin and reduce the risk of developing diabetes.
- Eat a healthy diet: Choose foods low in fat and calories, especially saturated fats found in animal products like red meat, whole milk, butter, ice cream, and cheese; Avoid refined carbohydrates such as white bread and pasta; Limit sugars added to foods or beverages; Eat plenty of vegetables (particularly dark green); Eat fruits (low in sugar); Include legumes (such as beans) as part of your meals at least three times per week; Limit salt intake from processed foods as well as from table salt
- Take control over your health: Get tested for diabetes; If you have prediabetes, make lifestyle changes that may delay or prevent type 2 diabetes; Know your numbers—blood pressure level (under 130/80 mm Hg), blood glucose level (faster than 125 mg/dl), cholesterol level ((Total Cholesterol under 200mg/dl).
- Limit how much alcohol you drink: No more than one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men.
- If you smoke, quit! Smoking increases your risk of developing diabetes by up to 50%.
Treatment of Type 2 Diabetes in African Americans
Treatment for Type 2 diabetes in African Americans has two main goals:
- To lower blood glucose levels
- To prevent or delay the onset of complications.
The first step in treating type 2 diabetes is to make sure you are diagnosed accurately. This can be done by talking about your symptoms with your doctor, including any sudden weight loss or gain; frequent urination; feeling very thirsty; blurry vision; fatigue; depression; tingling in limbs or feet; numbness or pain in hands or feet; rapid heart rate; skin infections that don’t heal easily; hair loss; weight gain around belly button area (called ‘central obesity); feeling hungry all the time despite having eaten enough food (called ‘polyphagia’). If you have any of these symptoms you should see a doctor right away because they may indicate.
Several treatment options can be used to manage your blood sugar levels, including medications and lifestyle changes. Some medications are available by prescription only while others can be purchased over-the-counter at your pharmacy. Your healthcare provider will help you determine which type of medication is best suited to meet your needs and monitor its effectiveness throughout treatment. Although there’s no cure for Type 2 diabetes, it’s possible to manage it successfully with proper lifestyle changes along with the right combination of medications if needed.
Several medications can help manage diabetes effectively, including insulin and oral medications (such as metformin).
Management of Type 2 Diabetes in African Americans
With the right treatment plan, you can manage your type 2 diabetes and still enjoy life. You can manage type 2 diabetes by eating healthy, staying active, and taking medicine if you need it.
Here are some tips for managing your blood sugar:
- Eat a healthy diet based on the American Diabetes Association guidelines.
- Get regular physical activity and exercise at least 150 minutes per week.
- Work with your doctor to come up with goals for blood sugar control.
- Follow a meal plan.
- Take your diabetes medicine as prescribed.
- Make sure to take your medicine if you miss a meal.
- Have regular checkups and blood tests to monitor for complications associated with diabetes, such as high blood pressure (hypertension) and eye problems, including glaucoma and cataracts. Be sure to have regular eye exams by an ophthalmologist experienced in diabetic eye care.
- Eat a healthy diet that includes lean proteins, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables; limit saturated fats and trans fat intake; avoid sugary treats or foods with high sugar content such as sweetened beverages or desserts made with white flour products like cakes, cookies or pies; choose low-fat dairy products instead of full-fat ones when possible; avoid processed meats like hot dogs because they are high in sodium — aim for less than 1500 milligrams per day — which is about two tablespoons of table salt per day
Diet and Lifestyle for Type 2 Diabetes In African Americans
Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition that can be managed through diet and lifestyle changes. Diet and lifestyle play a key role in preventing type 2 diabetes, which is why it’s important to make healthy choices.
You should follow this advice if you have type 2 diabetes or are at high risk of developing it because of your family history or ethnicity. Your doctor will advise you on what sort of diet suits you best. The following are some general guidelines:
- Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables as they’re good sources of vitamins, minerals, and fiber – the natural way to keep your blood sugar levels steady throughout the day. Make sure one-third of your plate contains colorful meals such as sweet potato with beans, couscous salad, pasta dishes made with tomato sauce, and stir-fries containing lots of colorful vegetables such as carrots and peppers. These foods contain antioxidants called carotenoids which help protect against heart disease too!
- Reduce saturated fat intake as this will help lower cholesterol levels in the bloodstream thereby reducing stroke risk too! There’s no need for processed meats like salami etcetera either because they contain lots of salt which raises blood pressure levels too much!
Conclusion of Treating Type 2 diabetes in African Americans
This article has covered everything you need to know about treating Type 2 diabetes in African Americans. With regular exercise and a healthy diet, it’s possible to prevent and manage this disease. If you have been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, be sure to work closely with your doctor or therapist on making lifestyle changes that will have the greatest impact on your health outcomes.