African Americans Living with Diabetes

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Further complications associated with diabetes include kidney disease, blindness, and the threat of amputations. This health concern currently affects about 16 million people in the United States with an estimated five million of those unaware of their condition and a disproportionate number being of African-American descent.The odds of African Americans contracting diabetes are estimated to be at least double the national average. This disparity is increasing every year and has become the most significant health concern for the African American community. Approximately one in eight African Americans has diabetes. More disturbingly, of those with diabetes, African Americans are more likely to develop associated complications and become disabled than are the white community, possibly as a result of escalating health care costs associated with diabetes treatment supplies. Further, death rates for people with diabetes are 27 percent higher for African Americans compared with whites (National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse, 2002).This paper first explains the cause of diabetes through an overview of its symptoms and who’s at risk, then delves deeply into diabetes from an African American perspective including the reasons for this racial imbalance, female-specific issues, and the amplified ancillary effect that diabetes has on African Americans. It will also speak to how physical activity, calorie intake, and obesity factor into the equation. Finally, a brief section is included that covers the diagnosis and treatment of diabetes and will discuss preventative measures as well as proper diet and care for those afflicted with the disease.A primary factor in diabetes is the level of insulin present in the body. Insulin is a chemical the body produces naturally to manage the induction of glucose into the system. When the body produces too little amounts of insulin, greater amounts of glucose are allowed to enter the bloodstream thereby causing the symptoms of the disease called diabetes.