Groups Especially Affected by Diabetes- Article courtesy of CDC

How are women especially affected by diabetes?

Of the 20.8 million people with diabetes in the United States, 9.7 million are women. The risk of heart disease, the most common complication of diabetes, is more serious among women than men. Among people with diabetes who have had a heart attack, women have lower survival rates and a poorer quality of life than men. Women with diabetes have a shorter life expectancy than women without diabetes, and women are at greater risk of blindness from diabetes than men. Death rates for women aged 25-44 years with diabetes are more than 3 times the rate for women without diabetes.

Women with diabetes must also plan childbearing carefully. It is especially important to keep blood glucose levels as near to normal as possible before and during pregnancy, to protect both mother and baby. Pregnancy itself may affect insulin levels, as well as diabetes-related eye and kidney problems.

To learn more, read

* The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) fact sheet, Diabetes and Women’s Health Across the Life Stages: A Public Health Perspective

* Pregnancy, Diabetes, and Women’s Health from the CDC’s publication, Take Charge of Your Diabetes

* The CDC’s Initiative on Diabetes and Women’s Health

* The CDC’s Women and Diabetes Town Hall Meeting Webcast (http://www.mchcom.com/details/diabetes.htm)

* Preconception Care of Women with DiabetesExternal Web Site Icon, a professional journal article from the American Diabetes Association

What is gestational diabetes?

Pregnant woman

Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes, or high blood sugar, that only pregnant women get. If a woman gets high blood sugar when she’s pregnant, but she never had high blood sugar before, she has gestational diabetes.

Managing gestational diabetes is very important in order to protect the baby. Babies born to mothers with uncontrolled gestational diabetes can be overly large at birth, making delivery more dangerous. These babies can also have breathing problems. Moreover, children exposed to diabetes in the womb are more likely to become obese during childhood and adolescence, and develop type 2 diabetes later in life.

Usually, gestational diabetes goes away after the baby is born. However, women who have had gestational diabetes are at higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes later in life, so healthy eating, physical activity, and weight maintenance are important steps to prevention.

See the following for more information:

* Pregnancy, Diabetes, and Women’s Health from the CDC’s publication, Take Charge of Your Diabetes

* What I Need to Know About Gestational DiabetesExternal Web Site Icon from the National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse

* Are You at Risk for Gestational Diabetes?External Web Site Icon from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health

* Gestational Diabetes http://diabetes-in-america.s-3.com/adobe/chpt35.pdf [PDF–171 KB] a chapter from “Diabetes in America”, published by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health

* Gestational Diabetes MellitusExternal Web Site Icon, a professional journal article from the American Diabetes Association

* Gestational Diabetes Fact Sheet Adobe PDF file [PDF–271 KB]

What racial and ethnic groups are especially affected by diabetes?

African Americans, Hispanic/Latino Americans, American Indians, Asian Americans, and Pacific Islander Americans are at particularly high risk for type 2 diabetes. In addition, gestational diabetes occurs more frequently in African Americans, Hispanic/Latino Americans, and American Indians than in other groups.

Why do some racial and ethnic groups have higher rates of diabetes?

Diabetes can indeed “run in families,” meaning that heredity often makes someone more likely to develop diabetes. Researchers believe that certain genes affecting immune response can play a role in the development of type 1 diabetes, while genes affecting insulin function can contribute to the development of type 2 diabetes. While African Americans, Hispanic/Latino Americans, American Indians, Asian Americans, and Pacific Islander Americans have a slightly lower rate of type 1 diabetes, they are at a higher risk for type 2 diabetes than the rest of the population.

Many researchers think that some African Americans, Hispanic/Latino Americans, American Indians, Asian Americans, and Pacific Islander Americans inherited a “thrifty gene” which helped their ancestors store food energy better during times when food was plentiful, to survive during times when food was scarce. Now that “feast or famine” situations rarely occur for most people in the United States, the gene which was once helpful may now put these groups at a higher risk for type 2 diabetes.

In addition, poverty, lack of access to health care, cultural attitudes and behaviors are barriers to preventive and diabetes management care for some minority Americans.

See the following for more information:

* Diabetes Disparities Among Racial and Ethnic Minorities fact sheetExternal Web Site Icon from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

What are some diabetes resources focusing on African Americans?

African American mother and child

Here are just some of the many diabetes materials addressing African Americans specifically:

The Diabetes Epidemic Among African Americans Adobe PDF file [PDF–99 KB]External Web Site Icon from the National Diabetes Education Program

Diabetes in African AmericansExternal Web Site Icon from the National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse

More Than 50 Ways to Prevent Diabetes Adobe PDF file [PDF–949 KB]External Web Site Icon tip sheet from the National Diabetes Education Program

Project DIRECT (Diabetes Intervention Reaching and Educating Communities Together), a CDC-funded community project to develop strategies for diabetes prevention and control specifically among African-Americans

Health Problems in African American Women: DiabetesExternal Web Site Icon from the National Women’s Health Information Center

What are some diabetes resources focusing on Hispanic/Latino Americans?

Hispanic Family

Here are English-language diabetes materials addressing Hispanic/Latino Americans:

Diabetes in Hispanic AmericansExternal Web Site Icon from the National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse

Health Problems in Hispanic American/Latina Women: DiabetesExternal Web Site Icon from the National Women’s Health Information Center

Latinos and DiabetesExternal Web Site Icon Web site section of the American Diabetes Association

Here are some Spanish-language diabetes materials:

The Spanish-language Web site section CDC En Español – Diabetes

Spanish and Hispanic-Related CDC Diabetes Publications

National Diabetes Education Program publications in SpanishExternal Web Site Icon

Prevengamos la diabetes tipo 2. Paso a PasoExternal Web Site Icon materials from the National Diabetes Education Program

National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse publications in SpanishExternal Web Site Icon

Cobertura Medicare de Suministros y Servicios para Diabéticos Adobe PDF file [PDF–404 KB]External Web Site Icon (Medicare Coverage of Diabetes Supplies and Services) from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

What are some diabetes resources focusing on American Indians and Alaska Natives?

Here are several publications about American Indians, Alaska Natives, and diabetes:

The CDC’s Native Diabetes Wellness Program which supports American Indian and Alaskan Native communities in developing effective strategies for diabetes care and prevention

The CDC fact sheet, Trends in Diabetes Prevalence Among American Indian and Alaskan Native Children, Adolescents and Young Adults – 1990-1998

We Have the Power to Prevent Diabetes Tip Sheet from the National Diabetes Education Program

Diabetes in American Indians and Alaska NativesExternal Web Site Icon from the National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse

I Can Lower My Risk for Type 2 DiabetesExternal Web Site Icon from the National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse

The U.S. Indian Health Service’s Division of Diabetes Treatment and PreventionExternal Web Site Icon

Health Problems in American Indian/Alaska Native Women: DiabetesExternal Web Site Icon from the National Women’s Health Information Center

The Pima Indians: Pathfinders for HealthExternal Web Site Icon from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

What are some diabetes resources focusing on Asian and Pacific Islander Americans?

Here are some resources specifically addressing diabetes among Asian and Pacific Islander Americans:

Diabetes in Asian and Pacific Islander AmericansExternal Web Site Icon from the National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse

Health Problems in Asian American/Pacific Islander and Native Hawaiian Women: DiabetesExternal Web Site Icon from the National Women’s Health Information Center

Diabetes materials in a variety of Asian languagesExternal Web Site Icon from the National Diabetes Education Program

Take Care of Your Heart. Manage Your Diabetes Adobe PDF file [PDF–238KB]External Web Site Icon materials from the National Diabetes Education Program

How are children especially affected by diabetes?

Type 1 diabetes, which used to be called juvenile diabetes, is usually first diagnosed in children, teens, or young adults. In type 1 diabetes, the body’s immune system attacks and destroys beta cells in the pancreas, so that they no longer make insulin. People with type 1 diabetes must take insulin every day. Approximately one of every 400 to 500 children and adolescents has type 1 diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes, a disease usually diagnosed in adults aged 40 years or older, is now becoming more common among children and adolescents, particularly in American Indians, African Americans, and Hispanic/Latinos.

Among youth, obesity, physical inactivity, and prenatal exposure to diabetes in the mother have become widespread, and may contribute to the increased development of type 2 diabetes during childhood and adolescence.

See the following for more information:

* Epidemiology of Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus Among North American Children and Adolescents from the CDC

* The CDC and National Institutes of Health study, SEARCH for Diabetes in Youth, which examines the current status of diabetes among children and adolescents in the United States

* Diabetes in Children and Adolescents Fact SheetExternal Web Site Icon from the National Diabetes Education Program

* Diabetes materials focusing on children and adolescents External Web Site Iconfrom the National Diabetes Education Program

* Helping the Student with Diabetes Succeed: A Guide for School PersonnelExternal Web Site Icon from the National Diabetes Education Program

* Helping Your Child Manage Diabetes at School from the CDC

* Type 2 Diabetes in Children and Adolescents Adobe PDF file [PDF–136 KB]External Web Site Icon a professional journal article from the American Diabetes Association

How are older adults especially affected by diabetes?

As we age, our risk for developing diabetes increases. Approximately half of all diabetes cases occur in people aged 60 years or older. Approximately 20.9% (10.3 million) of people in the United States aged 60 years or older have diabetes. Diabetes often leads to chronic conditions that eventually result in death, such as heart disease and kidney disease. Thus, diabetes is often responsible for, but not listed as, the cause of many deaths.

See the following for more information:

Dealing with DiabetesExternal Web Site Icon from the National Institute on Aging

It’s Not Too Late to Prevent Diabetes Adobe PDF file [PDF–1 MB]External Web Site Icon from the National Diabetes Education Program

Cognitive and Physical Disabilities and Aging-Related Complications of DiabetesExternal Web Site Icon, a professional journal article from the American Diabetes Association

How are some veterans affected by diabetes?

Vietnam veterans exposed to the herbicide Agent Orange may be at increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes. In the year 2000, the Veterans Administration announced that it would recognize diabetes as a Vietnam service-related disease.

See the following for more information:

* Agent Orange and DiabetesExternal Web Site Icon, a brief from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

* The fact sheet Diabetes Mellitus (Type II) As A Presumptive Condition for In-Country Vietnam VeteransExternal Web Site Icon for more information from the Veterans Benefits Administration on VA coverage for Vietnam veterans with diabetes

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