Even though we are doing better in general at diagnosing diabetes today than in the past, that is not true for all groups of people. Mexican-Americans are more likely to have type 2 diabetes without a diabetes diagnosis from a doctor.
More about diabetes diagnosis in Mexican Americans
Many people in the U.S. have diabetes without knowing that they have it. It is very common for people to have type 2 diabetes for years without getting a diabetes diagnosis from a doctor. This is a major problem. Those first few years are an important time to start interventions that could prevent complications later. When people don’t get diagnosed with diabetes right away, they are at higher risk for worse health outcomes later. For example, once a person is diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, they can start making lifestyle and diet changes. This can improve their condition and keep them healthy. Without that immediate diagnosis, it becomes a missed opportunity for creating positive change.
There is a common belief that we are doing a better job of discovering diabetes in people today than we were in the past. However, this is only true for certain groups of people. This includes non-Latino whites, older Americans, and people with higher incomes. This might be because these groups of people have more access to healthcare. Apart from those groups, we are actually not doing a better job in discovering diabetes. For example, detection of diabetes did not improve in black adults, adults younger than 65 years, and adults with lower incomes. Even more, we actually got worse at discovering diabetes in Mexican-Americans. As a result, there are more undiagnosed Latino adults than there are undiagnosed white adults.
Going forward, it is very important to focus on diagnosing type 2 diabetes in Mexican-Americans, black adults, younger adults, and those with lower incomes.
Photo credit Mil Familias © 2018