How Race And Ethnicity Affect Diabetes

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Diabetes is a lifelong chronic illness that affects millions of Americans, African Americans in particular. In the years prior, a diagnosis could be devastating along with the health complications that follow. A person with diabetes would forever be tied to multiple prescription medications, insulin, syringes, and constant finger sticks to determine their blood sugar levels unless they would turn their health around for the better. Since then, there have been many advancements in diabetes-related to care for patients. New technologies have made the quality of life better for persons diagnosed with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.

The world as we know it has is being affected by many diseases due to poor health/family illnesses, known and unknown viruses, hypertension, obesity, sexually transmitted diseases, which are only a few diseases one can gain. However, there is one common disease that has not only America suffering but other countries as well are facing today. This disease is formally called diabetes, and by definition, Diabetes is a chronic disease that occurs when the pancreas is no longer able to make insulin, or when the body cannot make good use of the insulin it produces (International Diabetes Federation). This normally occurs when there are high levels of the “wrong foods” consumed. For instance, the famous McDonald’s, Burger King, Taco Bell, Wendy’s, and the majority of other fast-food restaurants offer extremely cheap meal deals like the “4 for 4” (Wendy’s) or “2 for $5 mix and match” (McDonald’s) to make it easy for Americans’ and others to be able to purchase a cheap meal but can be devastating to the body. Surprisingly, a select few restaurants that offer more “healthy’ food options are only really healthy as they say. A chain restaurant like Subway offers processed meats or artificial vegetables which are somewhere along the lines to be the same as eating fast foods. If you think about it, most of these fast-food restaurants are located where? Mainly in the poorer communities, where they know fast food can be afforded and comes out super quick. This brings problems all across the boards. Yes, it is offering the community an opportunity to feed their families by building these fast-food restaurants (especially if it is a big family), however, it is raising obesity in kids as well as adults, illnesses like hypertension, or the main illness which is diabetes. Diabetes is considered one of the main killers because if one doesn’t know that they have the illness, they can potentially kill themselves due to lack of knowledge and constant poor diet because of them being unaware of their health. The biggest question to answer, is which minority population is the most affected with diabetes, and what are some preventative measures the minorities can take to help resolve their complications with diabetes?

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Williams defines ethnicity as “a complex multidimensional construct reflecting the confluence of biological factors and geographical origins, culture, economic, political and legal factors, as well as racism… The concepts of “race” and “ethnicity” play important roles in understanding disparities in health and health care (Spanakis & Golden, 2013). Depending on one’s racial status and ethnicity, race plays an imperative role when demonstrating the discrepancies that the health care system. This states that there is in fact problems that because of one’s race and/or ethnicity, they may or may not be treated for diabetes. It is somewhat stereotyping the races making diabetes a racial thing. Today, most diabetes cases are mostly found in African Americans, Hispanics, Asians, solely any race other than white. Because this is a known fact, it sorts of gave professionals the notion to pass the individuals by who have diabetes and seek medical attention. Most doctors don’t consider an African American or Hispanic patient a priority and would rather treat to a more “privileged” race, white people. This is an inequality that should be avoided, nor should any race be not be treated because of their race or ethnicity, or beliefs it is unfair and detrimental to the patient’s health.

In 2003, the Institute of Medicine released a landmark report titled “Unequal Treatment: Confronting Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health Care,” providing evidence that racial and ethnic minorities are treated differently from whites in the U.S. health care system, resulting in poorer health for millions of Americans (Chow et al 2012). Being that the races are treated differently in the health care system, it shows us the disparities that the health care system directs towards a specific race. Based on the above research statement from the article, The Disparate Impact of Diabetes on Racial/Ethnic Minority Populations, basically says that those who are white are treated better or improved care than other races like Hispanic, black, Asian, Haitian, etc., which is completely unfair to those who seek the same or dire treatment than those of the white race. No race nor ethnicity should have to suffer because they are not the “privileged” race in order to seek medical treatment. Today, this is where not only America, but some other countries too, are failing to treat certain patients because of the extent of care that the patient may need in addition to the race of the person. Being that diabetes known diagnosis to treat, it is not a huge problem for the white races. According to the article, the authors also state that majority of the races who suffer from diabetes are African American (one of the highest races), Hispanic/ Latino, Asian Americans, and American Indians. The biggest issue is where the communities lack the opportunity to provide to the different races healthier food options to shop from like whole foods, fresh markets, more 24-hour fitness gyms to be able to travel to and possibly within walking distance. Diabetes can be controlled within each race if and only if there were to be changed in the community.

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How Race And Ethnicity Affect Diabetes. (2021, August 13). Edubirdie. Retrieved April 19, 2024, from
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