RadioMD: Staying Well

Diabetes Among Minorities: Why You Are At Greater Risk

April 21, 20149 min
Diabetes is on the rise among African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, Asians and Pacific Islanders. If you are a minority, you are more likely to develop diabetes than whites. Why is that?Diabetes is on the rise throughout the nation. In fact according to the American Diabetes Association, 25.8 million adults and children in the US have diabetes, this accounts for 8.3 percent of the population.Diabetes is the sixth leading cause of death in the US, is a metabolic disease in which the body's inability to produce any or enough insulin that causes elevated levels of glucose in the blood.Minorities are more likely than whites to develop diabetes.What makes minorities more at risk for this disease?Diabetes can run in your family, which can cause your risk of developing the disease to increase. Beyond genetics, there are also cultural attitudes and socioeconomics that can play a role in the growing epidemic.Every culture has different takes on what comfort food is. These foods are passed down from generation to generation but may not be the healthiest foods to be eaten.What are some strategies to educate and improve lifestyle changes?Exercise is one of the better approaches when it comes to preventing and managing diabetes. There are logistical and practical barriers on what is available and if it is safe to be playing outside.What are some other ways to help manage the growing problem of diabetes in minorities?Endocrinologist at Indiana University Health in Indianapolis and a professor of medicine, specializing in endocrinology and specifically in diabetes at the Indiana University School of Medicine, Dr. Kieren Maher joins Melanie Cole, MS to discuss why diabetes is a growing problem specifically among minorities.

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