According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are 4.9 million African Americans living in the United States with diabetes. These individuals typically will be categorized as having one of three common types; type 1, type 2, or gestational. In adults, type 1 diabetes accounts for approximately 5% of all diagnoses; type 2 represents about 90% to 95% of all cases, with reported rates of gestational diabetes ranging from 2% to 10% of pregnancies. Most African Americans will be diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.
However, there are other types of diabetes— although uncommon, that you or a family member may be diagnosed with: Latent Autoimmune Diabetes in Adults, Maturity Onset Diabetes in the Young, Cystic Fibrosis Related Diabetes, and Antiretroviral-associated diabetes. These types of diabetes account for 1% to 5% of all diagnosed cases.
Latent Autoimmune Diabetes in Adults (LADA) shares characteristics of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease—your immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys the beta cells in the pancreas where insulin is made. It’s not clear why this happens, but when it does, your body isn’t able to make enough of its own insulin to keep your blood glucose levels normal. Type 1 diabetes develops over a relatively short period of time. Type 2 diabetes is caused by a combination of factors; either your body doesn’t make enough insulin, which is called insulin deficiency, or the cells in the muscles, liver, and fat do not use insulin properly, which is called insulin resistance. Type 2 diabetes develops gradually and can be subtle and remain undiagnosed for years.