Diabetes has had a devastating impact upon those in the African

Diabetes has a devastating impact upon people in the African American community. Diabetes is the fifth most common cause of death for African Americans and their death rate is 27 percent more than whites.

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More than 2.8 millions African Americans have diabetes and nearly one-third of them do not know they suffer from the condition. Additionally, twenty-five percentage of African Americans between the ages between 65 and 74 suffer from diabetes, and one of 4 African American women, over 55 years old has been diagnosed with diabetes.

The root of the disease is not clear, but scientists believe that genetics as well as environmental factors influence those who are likely to develop the disease.


Research suggests that African Americans and African Immigrants are more likely to develop diabetes. Studies suggest that African Americans as well as recent African immigrants carry an “thrifty gene” from their African relatives.

This gene could have allowed Africans to make use of the energy of food more effectively in times of feast and Famine. In the present, with less cycles of feast and Famine, this gene could cause weight loss to be harder to African Americans and African Immigrants.

This genetic predisposition, when combined with an impaired tolerance to glucose, is usually associated with the genetic predisposition to high blood pressure. People who have impaired glucose tolerance experience greater than normal blood sugar concentrations and have greater chance of developing diabetes.

What is diabetes?

Diabetes, also known in the form of “sugar diabetes”, is a condition that manifests in the event that the body is unable to make or use insulin. Insulin is required by the body in order to convert sugar, starches , and other foods into energy. Diabetes is a long-lasting condition with no cure. Diabetes is a serious condition and shouldn’t be overlooked.

Diabetics are often affected by low levels of glucose (sugar) that are present in blood. The low levels of blood sugar can make you feel disoriented and sweaty. You may feel dizzy, dizzy and hungry, experience headaches, suffer from abrupt mood swings, experience trouble paying attention or experiencing feeling of tingling around your mouth.

Types of Diabetes

Pre-diabetes is triggered when blood glucose levels are above normal, but not enough to warrant the classification of Type II Diabetes. The condition can cause harm to the circulation system, however, pre-diabetes is often managed by controlling blood sugar levels. By controlling the pre-diabetes, you can usually delay or stop the development in Type II diabetes.

Type I or juvenile-onset type diabetes is most often seen in people who are younger than 20 years old, but it can happen at any time. A range of five to 10 percent of African Americans who are diagnosed with diabetes have this kind of disease. Typ I diabetes is an auto-immune disease in which the body produces less or no insulin. This kind of diabetes has to be treated by daily injections of insulin.

Type II or adult-onset diabetes accounts for 90 to 95 percent of the cases of diabetes that are diagnosed within African Americans. The cause of Type II is an illness in which the body is unable to use insulin properly. As per the American Diabetes Association, “Type II is usually found in people over 45, who have diabetes in their family, who are overweight, who don’t exercise and who have cholesterol problems.” In the beginning, it is usually controlled by lifestyle changes however in later stages, insulin injections or diabetes pills are frequently required.

The gestational diabetes can be present during pregnancy in women. Gestational diabetes is usually linked to high blood glucose level or high blood sugar. The condition affects approximately four percent of pregnant women. The condition usually disappears following the birth, but women with gestational diabetes have higher risk of developing diabetes later in the course of their lives.

The signs of diabetes

The most frequent symptoms of diabetes are:

frequent visits to the toilet

an increase in thirst

an increase in appetite

blurred vision

unusual weight loss

Increased fatigue


The complications of diabetes

Diabetes can cause dangerous and life-threatening complications. Strokes, blindnessand the failure of kidneys, coronary heart diseases and amputations are all common issues which affect African Americans who have diabetes

Kidney Disease

“Diabetes is the second leading cause of end stage kidney disease in African Americans, accounting for about thirty percent of the new cases each year,” according to the National Kidney Foundation of Illinois. About twenty percent of people with the disease will end up developing kidney damage.


Diabetes is the main cause of non-traumatic lower-limb amputations within the United States. More than 60 percent of all non-traumatic lower-limb amputations occurring in America occur in people with diabetes. African Americans are almost three times more likely to experience an amputation of the lower limb because of diabetes than whites. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) around 82,000 non-traumatic lower-limb amputations carried out by people suffering from diabetes in 2001.


African Americans are twice as likely to be affected by diabetes-related blindness. Diabetes sufferers can be diagnosed with a condition known as “Diabetic Retinopathy”, a condition that affects blood vessels in the eye that can cause diminished vision and blindness. Diabetes is the primary reason for new cases of blindness among people between 20 to 74 years of age. Up to 24,000 individuals lose their sight each year due to diabetes.

Heart Disease

The people with diabetes are three 4 times as likely suffer from heart disease than those who do not have diabetes. Thermoplastic (hardening of the blood vessels) is more prevalent in diabetics, and may increase the chances of stroke, heart attacks and low blood flow throughout the body.

Risk Factors for Diabetes

There is a higher chance of developing diabetes if your have one of the following conditions:


Diabetes in the family


Inactivity levels are low

Age over 45 years

High blood pressure

Triglycerides levels in the blood are high.

HDL cholesterol that is less than 35

Diabetes during pregnancy, or baby weighing over 9 pounds

Diabetes has had a devastating impact upon those in the African American community; it is the fifth most common cause of death and is the second top cause of late stage kidney disease among African Americans.

African Americans suffer from complications of diabetes at a greater frequency than the rest of the population. African Americans are three times more likely to suffer from lower limbs amputated as a result of diabetes, and more than twice likely be affected by diabetes-related blindness.

If you’re suffering from any of the risk factors, it is recommended to speak with your physician and request the blood glucose test. Discuss with your doctor the lifestyle changes you can make to decrease your chance for developing the disease.