Diabetes In Asian Indians
HOUSTON: The American Diabetes Association reports that almost 25.8 million people in the United States, or 8.3 percent of the population, have diabetes.
However, the estimated prevalence of type 2 (adult-onset) diabetes in Asian Indians in the United States is higher with estimates between 17% to 29% depending on the age group studied as the prevalence increases with age. While its cause is still unknown, researchers have found that genetics and environmental factors such as sedentary lifestyles play significant roles.
Diabetes is a disease in which the body does not produce or properly use insulin, a hormone needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy.
Obesity reduces the body’s ability to respond to insulin. When yoaur body makes insulin but can’t use it properly, the sugar level in your blood rises above the normal healthy range, resulting in diabetes. High blood sugar levels can cause serious damage to the heart, kidneys, eyes and nerves and increase the risk of a stroke. In addition to its strong link with type 2 or adult-onset diabetes, obesity itself is associated with a higher risk of high blood pressure, heart disease and cholesterol abnormalities as well as fatty liver disease. These conditions are widely prevalent in Asian Indians in the United States with a recent study showing this population to be specially susceptible to fatty liver disease. Knowing your risk of diabetes can help you prevent or delay onset of the disease. Screening can detect early diabetes as well as “prediabetes,” an early stage in the natural history of the disease where the high blood sugar levels can be reversed with lifestyle changes. Once a patient is diagnosed with diabetes, it is possible to prevent or reduce the complications of diabetes with proper control of glucose (blood sugar), blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Lifestyle strategies for the prevention and treatment of diabetes are centered around healthy eating and regular exercise. Diet plays a key role in controlling blood sugar levels, making good nutrition a crucial element in preventing diabetes, managing existing diabetes, and preventing or slowing the rate of development of chronic complications. While type 2 diabetes was once believed to be an adult “post-40 disease”, it is now being increasingly diagnosed in the young. The rising prevalence of childhood obesity has contributed significantly to the early onset of diabetes as well as high blood pressure and heart disease in the youth. Screening for these disorders is specially important for Asian Indians specially those with a strong family history of diabetes, in women who have had diabetes during pregnancy, as well as in overweight or obese individuals or those with cholesterol abnormalities. Early detection and proper treatment can reduce the risk of complications associated with diabetes.