Different Types of Diabetes and How They Affect African-American Families

Over 30 million Americans have diabetes, which translates to 1 in 10 Americans suffering from this disease. In addition, the National Diabetes Statistics Report has found that “new diabetes cases were higher among non-Hispanic Blacks and people of Hispanic origin than non-Hispanic Asians and non-Hispanic Whites.”

There is proof that certain minorities are more affected by this disease, but why does this happen? Some say that is directly related to their living conditions or overall lifestyle. Today, we will discuss the common factors that contribute to this disease and what we can do to overcome or learn to live with diabetes.

As the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases defines it, “Diabetes is a disease that occurs when your blood glucose, also called blood sugar, is too high. Blood glucose is your main source of energy and comes from the food you eat. Insulin, a hormone made by the pancreas, helps glucose from food get into your cells for energy. However, sometimes your body doesn’t make enough—or any—insulin or doesn’t use insulin well. Glucose then stays in your blood and doesn’t reach your cells.”

When your body overproduces blood glucose, and your insulin hormone is having a hard time doing its job, that’s when you start developing the conditions related to diabetes. These health problems go from borderline diabetes, the term for someone who has a less severe case of diabetes, to type 1 or type 2 diabetes, which requires additional management to stay healthy.

As we are talking about this disease, it’s important to point out the different types of diabetes and the main differences between them. The most common cases are Type 1, Type 2, and Gestational Diabetes.

Types of Diabetes.

If you have type 1 diabetes, that means that your body does not make insulin due to your immune system attacking and destroying the cells in your pancreas that are in charge of making this hormone. This type of diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults but can appear at any stage of your life.

Type 2 diabetes results in your body not making or using insulin correctly. The main difference between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes is that Type 2 occurs more often in middle-aged and older people. People with Type 1 diabetes need to take insulin every day to stay alive, while those with Type 2 may not require that.

The last major type of diabetes is Gestational Diabetes, which appears in some women while they are pregnant. Gestational Diabetes usually goes away once the baby is born. However, women with Gestational Diabetes can run the risk of having an increased chance of developing Type 2 Diabetes later in life.

Which factors contribute to the incidence of diabetes in African-Americans?

There have been studies that link biological factors mainly found in African-Americans that are primarily responsible for higher rates of diabetes. Making positive changes to your overall lifestyle can help reduce the racial health disparity for developing diabetes. As the National Institute of Health points out, “The study at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine found that the chance of developing diabetes was significantly higher for black adults than for white adults (about 66 more cases of diabetes per 1,000 people). The greatest difference was between black women and white women.”

A few of these biological factors are a combination of body mass index, waist measurement, fasting glucose levels, lipids, blood pressure, and lung function.

The study highlights crucial psychosocial and behavioral factors in patient lifestyle including smoking, drinking, and poor diet all playing a role in the development of diabetes. Diabetes is a chronic condition that lives with you in your everyday life, so it is important to learn to implement changes to keep it controlled and live a healthier lifestyle.

Sorogi Health

One of the solutions to managing diabetes is finding someone reliable enough to guide you and help you take control of the disease. We have come across Sorogi Health who are committed to serving not only the individuals living with chronic health conditions, but the providers who care for them as well.

Currently, Sorogi is nationally accredited by the Association of Diabetes Care and Education Specialists (ACDES) as a provider of DSMES and a CDC recognized provider of the National Diabetes Prevention Program. According to their website, “Sorogi was formed to meet the challenges of offering education and support services in community settings. Sorogi is better positioned to effectively address other chronic health conditions such as hypertension, obesity, diabetes and depression.”

If you are looking to manage or prevent your diabetes, you should consider their Diabetes Prevention Program. Sorogi’s Diabetes Prevention Program consists of 25 small group classes facilitated by a Sorogi lifestyle coach, who leads discussions of lifestyle change that can alter behavior and result in improved health.

These classes are covered by insurance and through a grant provided by the DC Department of Health.  All classes are currently being held remotely due to COVID-19. However, they will offer optional in-person courses when safe to do so.

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