Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes in the United States — and it may impact Hispanic or Latino adults in particular.
U.S. adults overall have a 40% chance of developing the disease. That risk increases to more than 50% for those adults who are Hispanic or Latino, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The CDC said the Hispanic or Latino population are typically hit harder with complications from diabetes, including higher rates of kidney failure and diabetes-related vision loss and blindness.
“There are often no signs or symptoms in the early stages of pre-diabetes and diabetes,” Dr. David Lam, an endocrinologist at Mount Sinai Health System and assistant professor of endocrinology, diabetes and bone disease at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, told Fox News Digital.
He added, “For this reason, regular medical care with blood work done with appropriate screening is critical to make the diagnosis as early as possible.”
Some signs that blood sugar is elevated include increased thirst, urination and appetite, said Dr. Lam.
“When blood sugars have been extremely elevated over time, additional symptoms such as changes in vision, unintentional weight loss and nausea/vomiting may occur,” he also said.
Hispanic Heritage Month has just begun as of Sept. 15, 2022 — and it goes through October 15th.
Health officials say that those of Hispanic descent should be aware of the risks and prevention of diabetes. More than half of Hispanic or Latino adults expected to develop Type 2 diabetes in their lifetime, the CDC said on its website.
The Hispanic community is not the only group of people who need to be mindful, of course.
About 1 in 10 Americans have diabetes — and 90% to 95% of the more than 37 million Americans diagnosed with the disease have Type 2 diabetes, according to the CDC.
Health officials say Type 2 diabetes most often develops in people over age 45, but there is a growing trend of young adults, teens and children also developing it.
Type 2 diabetes usually occurs when cells do not respond normally to insulin, a hormone made by the pancreas, which “acts like a key to let blood sugar into the cells” to provide the body with energy, the CDC explained.
This reaction is called insulin resistance. In an attempt to get the cells to respond, the pancreas makes more insulin — and eventually the pancreas cannot keep up.
As a result, blood sugar rises, which can lead to prediabetes and Type 2 diabetes. Physicians told Fox News Digital that a simple blood test may indicate that a person has diabetes.
Health experts also explained to Fox News Digital that high blood sugar is damaging to the body. It can result in heart disease, vision loss and kidney disease, so it is important that people regularly check their blood sugar levels if they have diabetes.
Diabetes can be managed through healthy eating and exercise. Or, in some cases, medications may be needed to help manage blood sugar levels, such as insulin.
It is important to keep blood pressure and cholesterol within normal, healthy limits, health officials advise.
A registered dietician can also help provide information on how to navigate managing diabetes.
Laura Feldman, a registered dietician, told Fox News Digital, “There is not one particular food that you can eat more or less of that will change your diabetes risk. Instead, more focus should be placed on dietary patterns.”
Feldman, who is also assistant professor of nutrition and the director of the Didactic Program in Dietetics at Long Island University (LIU) on its Post Campus in Brookville, New York, also said that it is important to choose balanced meals and snacks that include fiber, healthy fats and proteins that will help to control hunger and provide a steady blood glucose level.
The dietician told Fox News Digital, “Fiber is the undigestable part of plants. It is digested slowly, does not provide calories and promotes a feeling of fullness.”
She said good sources of fiber include plant-based foods such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes.
Feldman also suggested including small portions of healthy fats such as avocado, olive oil and nut butters — and trying to limit sources of fat from animal foods (i.e. full fat dairy, marbled meat, butter).
Healthy fats can curb a blood sugar spike by slowing down digestion and also contribute to satiety, as well as allow you to absorb certain vitamins like Vitamin A, D, E, and K, Feldman told Fox News Digital.
The director of the LIU Dietetics program also said that while no food needs to be avoided completely, it is best to try to limit added sugars.
It is also important to read labels on foods.
“In 2021, the food label was revised so that added sugars are clearly featured and easy to identify. Limiting added sugars, including ‘natural’ sources of added sugars such as honey or agave will help with stabilizing blood sugar levels,” Feldman said.
Feldman also suggested these examples of healthy breakfasts and snacks: whole wheat toast with nut butter and sliced banana; Greek yogurt with blueberries and granola; whole grain crackers with hummus; and trail mix.
Health experts also said it is important to monitor your weight when dealing with diabetes.
“Excess body fat is associated with increased risk of diabetes, so a slow and steady weight loss of 5-10% of body weight can reduce risk significantly,” Feldman told Fox News Digital.
“This would mean, for someone who weighs 250 pounds, a weight loss of 12.5-25 pounds, which would ideally occur over several months through balanced nutrition and increased physical activity,” she added.
Exercise also plays a role with blood sugar levels.
“Part of the development of diabetes is that your body cells become resistant to the blood sugar-lowering action of the hormone insulin. Physical activity increases the sensitivity of the cells to insulin and helps to control blood sugar.”
If regular activity is not possible for you, limiting the amount of time you are sedentary could still provide you with some benefits, said Feldman.
“Set a timer and make sure to get up and walk around the room once an hour!” Feldman suggested.