The Diabetes Epidemic Among Hispanics/Latinos
WHAT IS DIABETES?
Diabetes is a group of diseases marked by high levels of blood glucose resulting from defects in
insulin production, insulin action, or both. Diabetes can lead to serious complications and premature
death, but people with diabetes can take steps to control the disease and lower the risk of
Diabetes is one of the leading causes of death and disability in the United States. Total health care and
related costs for the treatment of diabetes run about $174 billion annually.
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF DIABETES?
Type 1 diabetes (formerly called juvenile diabetes) results when the body’s immune system attacks and
destroys its own insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas. People with type 1 diabetes must have insulin
delivered by injection or a pump. Symptoms of type 1 diabetes – increased thirst and urination, constant
hunger, weight loss, blurred vision, and extreme fatigue – usually develop over a short period of time. If
type 1 diabetes is not diagnosed and treated, a person can lapse into a life-threatening coma.
Type 1 diabetes accounts for 5 to 10 percent of all diagnosed cases of diabetes.
Type 2 diabetes, (formerly called adult-onset diabetes) occurs when the body does not make enough insulin
or cannot use the insulin it makes effectively. This form of diabetes usually develops in adults over the age
of 40 but is becoming more prevalent in younger age groups – including children and adolescents. The
symptoms of type 2 diabetes – feeling tired or ill, unusual thirst, frequent urination (especially at night),
weight loss, blurred vision, frequent infections, and slow-healing wounds – may develop gradually and may
not be as noticeable as in type 1 diabetes. Some people have no symptoms.
Type 2 diabetes accounts for about 90 to 95 percent of all diagnosed cases of diabetes.
A person is more likely to develop type 2 diabetes if they:
o have a family history of diabetes