Comprendiendo la diabetes Una guía básica para hispanos

Understanding diabetes: A basic guide for Hispanics.

Did you know that Hispanics in the United States are disproportionately affected by this condition? In this article, we’re going to explain what diabetes is, how it develops and the main things you need to know. So, grab a cup of tea and dive into this friendly and straightforward guide.

Diabetes and Hispanics in the United States:

It is important to highlight that Hispanics in the United States have a higher prevalence of diabetes compared to other ethnic groups. According to studies, approximately 13.8% of U.S. Hispanic adults have diabetes. This means that understanding diabetes and how to manage it is essential to the community.

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a chronic metabolic disorder characterized by high blood sugar levels. But don’t worry, I’ll explain it simply. Imagine that your body is a machine and glucose (sugar) is the fuel that gives it energy. Insulin is the key that helps glucose get into your cells so you can have that energy. When you have diabetes, your body has difficulty producing enough insulin or using it correctly.

Types of Diabetes:

  1. Type 1 diabetes: This type occurs when your body’s immune system attacks and destroys the insulin-producing cells in your pancreas. It is as if your body has a misunderstanding and forgets how to make insulin. People with type 1 diabetes need insulin injections or use an insulin pump to keep their blood sugar levels under control.
  2. Type 2 diabetes: This type is more common and usually develops over time. In this case, your body doesn’t use insulin efficiently or doesn’t produce enough. But don’t worry, with lifestyle changes, healthy eating, regular physical activity and, in some cases, medication, you can control type 2 diabetes.

How do you get diabetes?

Although the exact cause of diabetes is not fully understood, there are factors that influence its development:

  • Genetic predisposition: Family history can increase the risk of developing diabetes.
  • Lifestyle: Unhealthy eating, lack of physical activity and being overweight can increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
  • Body’s response: In the case of type 1 diabetes, the immune system can mistakenly attack insulin-producing cells.

Important Aspects About Diabetes:

  1. Symptoms: Some common symptoms include going to the bathroom frequently, being very thirsty, losing weight for no apparent reason, feeling hungrier than usual, being tired, and having vision problems.
  2. Complications: If uncontrolled, diabetes can cause serious health problems such as heart disease, strokes, kidney problems, nerve damage and eye problems.
  3. Diagnosis: It is diagnosed by blood tests that measure blood sugar levels. If you experience symptoms or have risk factors, it is important to consult a healthcare professional.
  4. Management: Diabetes management is based on maintaining healthy blood sugar levels through lifestyle changes, medications (if necessary), regular check-ups and monitoring.

Remember that this article is only an introduction to diabetes. If you want to delve deeper into this topic or have specific concerns, you can consult other sources such as the American Diabetes Association or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Stay informed, take care of your health and remember that you are not alone in managing diabetes. With the right knowledge, support and lifestyle changes, it is entirely possible to live a happy and healthy life with diabetes.

Useful references:
1. American Diabetes Association: www.diabetes.org/es
2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – Diabetes: www.cdc.gov/diabetes

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