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Diabetes: A Family Matter

Types of Diabetes

Introduction to Diabetes

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2008), 23.6 million children and adults in the United States, or 7.8% of the population have diabetes. While about 17.9 million have been told they have diabetes, there are still about 5.7 million other people unaware that they have the disease.

It is reported that almost 25% of those 60 years and older had diabetes in 2007. Disparities exist among ethnic groups and minority populations including Native Americans, Blacks, and Hispanics. After adjusting for population age differences between groups, the rate of diagnosed diabetes was highest among Native Americans and Alaska Natives (16.5%). This was followed by Blacks (11.8%) and Hispanics (10.4%), which includes rates for Puerto Ricans (12.6%), Mexican Americans (11.9%), and Cubans (8.2%). By comparison, the rate for Asian Americans was 7.5% with Whites at 6.6%.

monitoring blood sugar

Some research says that diabetes rates in the southeast part of the nation and in the Appalachian region are also high. These areas also have higher risks for many chronic diseases, including heart disease and stroke. Dr. Ann Albright, director of the CDC Division of Diabetes Translation, has said, "These data are an important step in identifying the places in a state that have the greatest number of people affected by diabetes. If states know which communities or areas have more people with diabetes, they can use that information to target their efforts or tailor them to meet the needs of specific communities."

According to the American Heart Association (2008), on average, only 7.3% of people with diabetes reach all the treatment goals for their levels of blood sugar, blood pressure and blood cholesterol. At least 65% of deaths among those living with type 2 diabetes are due to a disease like heart attack or stroke.

Symptoms of Diabetes

  • Blurred vision
  • Extreme thirst
  • Frequent bathroom use
  • Feeling tired or exhausted
  • Tingling or numbness of hands and feet
  • Recurring infections
  • Slow healing sores

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