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  The Minority/ Black Health Blog  

Monday, February 18, 2013

1 In 5 African Americans Have Diabetes, But Many Don't Even Know!! Are You One of Them?

Percentage of African Americans With Diabetes

In the United States, diabetes is the 7th leading cause of death, according to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control. It affects 18.7 percent of African-Americans age 20 or older. In fact, diabetes is 60 percent more common in African-Americans than in white Americans.

African-Americans are up to 2.5 times more likely to have limb amputation and up to 5.6 times more likely to suffer kidney disease than other people with diabetes. This is ample reason to understand what diabetes is and how it can be treated. Diabetes is a disease in which a person has a high amount of blood sugar, or glucose.

There are two basic types of diabetes:

Type 1 Diabetes
This is when the body does not produce any insulin. Insulin is the hormone (produced by the pancreas) that allows cells in the body to absorb blood sugar. Only 10 percent of diabetes patients have Type 1.

Type 2 Diabetes
Ninety percent of diabetes patients have this type. This is when the body produces insulin but not enough. Type 2 usually develops slowly and tends to progress as people get older.

Whether a person has Type 1 or 2, it is important to treat diabetes. Untreated diabetes can lead to eye diseases, ulcers and gangrene in the feet, kidney disease, heart attack or stroke, hearing loss, gum disease, nerve damage and increased susceptibility to infections. Over 18 million people have been diagnosed with diabetes, but more than 7 million have not been diagnosed.

Some of the common symptoms include: unusual thirst and frequent urination, intense hunger, irritability, blurred vision, weight loss or gain, fatigue, and cuts that won't heal. Diabetes is a serious disease, but both Type 1 and Type 2 are treatable. Early detection is important and can be done with a simple urine test. Treating diabetes early will greatly increase the chances of patients avoiding more serious health problems and living a normal life.
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