Compared to the general population, African Americans are disproportionately affected by diabetes:
- 4.9 million (an increase from 3.7 million in 2007), or 18.7% of all African Americans, aged 20 years or older, also have diabetes.
- According to the Office of Minority Health, in 2018, non-Hispanic blacks were twice as likely as non-Hispanic whites to die from diabetes.
- 25 percent of African Americans between the ages of 65 and 74 have diabetes.
- 1 in 4 African American women over 55 years of age has diabetes.
- African American adults are 60 percent more likely than non-Hispanic white adults to be diagnosed with diabetes by a physician.
- In 2017, non-Hispanic blacks were 3.2 times more likely to be diagnosed with end stage renal disease as compared to non-Hispanic whites.
- In 2017, non-Hispanic blacks were 2.3 times more likely to be hospitalized for lower limb amputations as compared to non-Hispanic whites.
- According to the American Association of Retired Persons, Black people are at significantly higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes than white people.
Diabetes is associated with an increased risk for a number of serious, sometimes life-threatening complications, and certain populations experience an even greater threat. Good diabetes management can help reduce your risk; however, many people are not even aware that they have diabetes until they develop one of its complications.
Blindness. More than 1 million African Americans may have diabetic retinopathy by 2030.
Kidney Disease. African Americans constitute more than 35% of all patients in the U.S. receiving dialysis for kidney failure, but only represent 13.2% of the overall U.S. population. Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure in African Americans.
Amputations. Diabetics undergo 130,000 amputations each year, often in low-income and underinsured neighborhoods. Black patients lose limbs at a rate triple that of others.
Heart Disease and Stroke. Heart disease and stroke account for about 65 percent of deaths in people with diabetes. Adults with diabetes have heart disease death rates about 2 to 4 times higher than adults without diabetes. The risk for stroke is 2 to 4 times higher and the risk of death from stroke is 2.8 times higher among people with diabetes.
Noninsulin-dependent diabetes; Diabetes – type 2; Adult-onset diabetes
Type 2 diabetes develops when the body becomes resistant to insulin or when the pancreas stops producing enough insulin. Exactly why this happens is unknown, although excess weight and inactivity seem to be contributing factors.
Insulin is a hormone that comes from the pancreas, a gland situated just behind and below the stomach. When you eat, the pancreas secretes insulin into the bloodstream. As insulin circulates, it acts like a key by unlocking microscopic doors that allow sugar to enter your cells. Insulin lowers the amount of sugar in your bloodstream. As your blood sugar level drops, so does the secretion of insulin from your pancreas.
Glucose — a sugar — is a main source of energy for the cells that make up muscles and other tissues. Glucose comes from two major sources: the food you eat and your liver. After intestinal digestion and absorption, sugar is absorbed into the bloodstream. Normally, sugar then enters cells with the help of insulin.
The liver acts as a glucose storage and manufacturing center. When your insulin levels are low — when you haven’t eaten in a while, for example — the liver metabolizes stored glycogen into glucose to keep your glucose level within a normal range.
High blood sugar levels can cause several symptoms, including:
- Blurry vision
- Excess thirst
- Frequent urination
- Weight loss
The fasting blood glucose test is the preferred test for diagnosing diabetes in children and nonpregnant adults. The test is most reliable when done in the morning. However, a diagnosis of diabetes can be made based on any of the following test results, confirmed by retesting on a different day: