Can Ethnicity Affect Type 2 Diabetes Risk?

Can Ethnicity Affect Type 2 Diabetes Risk

What is type 2 diabetes?

More than 24 million Americans have diabetes; of those, about 6 million don’t know they have the disease. The most common form of diabetes, type 2 is a condition in which blood sugar remains at a higher level than it should. Also known as hyperglycemia, type 2 diabetes means the body is not using insulin the way it should. Diabetes is a serious chronic disease that can be managed through lifestyle changes and medication.

Many people are surprised to know that type 2 diabetes prevalence is strongly associated with ethnicity. African Americans, Mexican Americans, American Indians, Native Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders and Asian Americans are at a higher risk than others.

According to, the rates of diagnosed diabetes by race/ethnic background are:

  • 7.6% of non-Hispanic whites
  • 9.0% of Asian Americans
  • 12.8% of Hispanics
  • 13.2% of non-Hispanic blacks
  • 15.9% of American Indians/Alaskan Natives

Not only are people in these groups more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, but they also might have worse blood sugar control and more severe diabetes complications.

There are a numerous factors which make a person more likely to develop diabetes. If you identify with one of these, you should discuss your risk of developing diabetes and kidney disease with your doctor.

Here are some factors that can contribute to the development of diabetes:

Diet – The incidence of diabetes is directly linked with the consumption of processed foods rich in refined carbohydrates, like biscuits, bread, cakes chocolates, pudding and ice creams.

Obesity – Obesity is one of the main causes of diabetes. Studies show that 60 to 85 % of diabetics tend to be overweight. The more fatty tissue in the body, the more resistant the muscle and tissue cells become to body insulin. Insulin allows the sugar in the blood to enter the cells by acting on the receptor sites on the surface of the cells.

Stress and Tension – There is a known connection between stress and diabetes mellitus; those who are under stress and/or lead an irregular lifestyle, need to take adequate precautions and make necessary lifestyle adjustments.

Family history – If one of your first degree relatives has diabetes, you could be at risk.

Lifestyle Risk – People who are less active have greater risk of developing diabetes.

Most of us cannot control  certain risk factors associated with type 2 diabetes, such as age, race, or family history. But you can prevent or delay developing type 2 diabetes by taking these steps:

  • Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight is one of the top causes of type 2 diabetes.
  • Eat a variety of foods that are low in fat and sugars. One of the ways to achieve better blood sugar levels is to follow a low-carb diet.
  • Make physical activity a habit. Regular activity is a key part of managing diabetes. It can help lower blood glucose in addition to many other benefits.
  • Limit alcohol consumption. If you already drink alcohol, the key is to keep your consumption in the moderate range, as higher amounts of alcohol could increase diabetes risk.
  • If you smoke, try to quit. Smokers are roughly 50 percent more likely to develop diabetes than nonsmokers, and heavy smokers have an even higher risk.



Learn More About Diabetes:

To learn about type 2 diabetes, click here

To learn about type 1 diabetes, click here

To learn about long-term complications with diabetes, click here

To learn about managing diabetes, click here

To learn about diabetes top risk factors, click here

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