(via Boots and Sabers)
- In 1993, 1.3 million African Americans were known to have diabetes. This is almost three times the number of African Americans who were diagnosed with diabetes in 1963. The actual number of African Americans who have diabetes is probably more than twice the number diagnosed because previous research indicates that for every African American diagnosed with diabetes there is at least one undiagnosed case.
- For every white American who gets diabetes, 1.6 African Americans get diabetes.
- One in four black women, 55 years of age or older, has diabetes. (Among African Americans, women are more likely to
- Twenty-five percent of blacks between the ages of 65 and 74 have diabetes.
- African Americans with diabetes are more likely to develop diabetes complications and experience greater disability from the complications than white Americans with diabetes.
Researchers suggest that African Americans and recent African immigrants to America have inherited a "thrifty gene" from their African ancestors. Years ago, this gene enabled Africans, during "feast and famine" cycles, to use food energy more efficiently when food was scarce. Today, with fewer "feast and famine" cycles, the thrifty gene that developed for survival may instead make weight control more difficult. This genetic predisposition, along with impaired glucose tolerance (IGT), often occurs together with the genetic tendency toward high blood pressure. ...
Diabetes was an uncommon cause of death among African Americans at the turn of the century. By 1993, however, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics, death certificates listed diabetes as the fifth leading cause of death for African Americans aged 45 to 64, and the third leading cause of death for those aged 65 and older in 1990. Diabetes is more dangerous for African-American women, for whom it was the third leading cause of death for all ages in 1990. Diabetes death rates may actually be higher than these studies show for two reasons. First, diabetes might not have been diagnosed. Second, many doctors do not list diabetes as a cause of death, even when the person was known to have diabetes.