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African Americans at Greater Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

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Resnick says she believes that primary care doctors do not do enough to emphasize the dangers of diabetes. The condition, she says, is like high blood pressure in many ways: "It is not an acute condition and it isn't painful, so both patients and caregivers may not pay much attention to it, particularly when [other medical] conditions that are more acute exist.

"However, as we're seeing the population get much more overweight, and we're also seeing many more people living into their 70s and 80s, I believe we're going to see many more people with the manifestations of diabetes." Identifying the risk factors that can be changed and developing ways to intervene are crucial, she says.

  • A new study shows that African Americans, especially women, are much more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than their white counterparts.
  • Most of the difference can be explained by known risk factors, including obesity (among women only), family history of diabetes, fewer years of formal education, and less physical activity.
  • Much of the risk for diabetes among the African American population can be modified with lifestyle changes, but a yet-unknown genetic or environmental factor may also contribute.
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