Diabetes and Ethnic Groups
If you are a member of certain ethnic groups, you are at a higher risk for developing diabetes. Diabetes affects Hispanics, Latinos, Native Americans, Asian Americans, African Americans, and Pacific Islander Americans more than it affects any other ethnic group. Also, African American women are more prone to gestational diabetes when they are pregnant than women in any other ethnic group.
Studies have found very specific information regarding how diabetes affects the different ethnic groups. For example, African Americans are one to two times more likely to develop diabetes than Caucasians. Asian groups, including Japanese Americans, Filipino Americans, Korean Americans, and Chinese Americans are also more likely to develop diabetes than Caucasians.
Diabetes occurs in Native Americans, including Alaskan natives, almost three times more often than it occurs in other ethnic groups, and diabetes occurs in Hispanic Americans more often than in Caucasians, African Americans, or Asian Americans. All of these statistics specific to Type 2 diabetes. With Type 1 diabetes, Caucasians are at the highest risk.
Researchers think they know why Type 2 diabetes preys on certain ethnic groups more than others. There was a time in human history when food was plentiful during some periods, and scarce during others. Bodies adjusted to this, and it is believed that the ancientors of African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, and Asian Americans had a gene that helped them to store energy when food was available, so that they could survive when it was not.
We no longer have a need to store energy, because food is always available to us. But because this gene has been handed down through the generations, it puts those ethnic groups at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by keeping too much sugar in the blood. If you are a member of any of the above-mentioned ethnic groups, it is vital that you will be tested for diabetes at least once every one or two years.