Latinos, men, youth face challenges in diabetes diagnosis, management
Type 2 Diabetes is a serious condition for anyone, but area Latinos, men, and youth sometimes face extra barriers to early diagnosis and management.
People with Type 2 Diabetes make insulin, but not enough or their bodies become resistant to it. If not diagnosed early or properly managed, the condition can lead to irreversible damage to major body organs such as the kidneys, eyes, blood vessels and nerves.
Latinos, African Americans, Native Americans and Asian Americans are ethnically predisposed to higher rates of Type 2 Diabetes, said Amy Knights, registered nurse, Northwest Colorado Health Diabetes educator and community health manager.
In the past, language was a barrier for Spanish speaking Latinos, Knights said.
Last year Northwest Colorado Health started a number of programs, providing on-sight interpretation and education about prevention and management by people who speak the language.
Early diagnosis and management is important to preventing disease progression and avoiding irreversible damage.
“Men are usually less likely to seek preventative care. Men tend to wait until things are really bad. The biggest barrier in this group of patients is their own attitudes towards prevention,” Knights said.
The American Diabetes Association reminds men that it’s important to talk about their health with doctors and to seek early intervention to avoid complications that can include erectile dysfunction.
Type 2 diabetes isn’t an adults only health problem.
“More and more kids are being diagnosed with it, some as young as 10 years old,” according the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention update Thursday.
The increase is due to inactivity leading to weight gain.
“Weight is still the biggest precursor to diabetes,” Knights said when explaining that she’s seeing more local children tested.
She believes that management is extra challenging when youth are diagnosed with the disease because it often means life style changes for the entire family.
“If you have diabetes and you are trying to make those changes, it won’t happen overnight,” Knights said. “So give yourself enough time to make those life style changes so that you can succeed.”
Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or snelson@CraigDailyPress.com or follow her on Twitter @CDP_Education
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