Many people face barriers to managing diabetes on their own and, as a result, their health suffers.

More about inequality in diabetes care

Poverty can be linked to chronic illness and even increase risk of developing type 2 diabetes. For example, the highest diabetes rate in New York exists within the South Bronx – the center of severe poverty in New York. The people who live in the Bronx have a very hard time managing their diabetes. There are many reasons why, including factors such as depression, lack of transportation, limited health insurance, poor education, unemployment, and food insecurity. These factors greatly affect people’s ability to take care of themselves, especially for those who are trying to control their diabetes. For example, if someone is uneducated, then that could lead to unemployment and financial struggle that prevents them from purchasing healthy foods and necessary health care services.

How does this apply to Latinos with diabetes? Latinos have the highest uninsured rates of any racial or ethnic group in the United States. In general, Latinos also experience greater disparities in risk for diabetes compared to other groups. This could be a result of many factors including lack of access to health care, language and cultural barriers, and low income level, among others.

Not having health insurance or the ability to understand basic health information are two factors that greatly limit access to newer diabetes technology. Patients without an education level that allows them to fully understand basic health information are then put at risk for worse health results. Dr. Malkin-Washeim of the Bronx calls this a “health disparity,” which means that there are differences in health care that are unnecessary, unfair, and unjust for the disadvantaged population. As a result, many people are not getting the best treatment options to help their diabetes. Dr. Malkin-Washeim states that “technology access should be a right for all people with diabetes and not just for our clients with private insurance.” The use of technology to manage diabetes can be a very powerful tool that everyone should be able to access.

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