Overcoming the obstacles of diagnosing diabetes in Asian Americans

PLOS: 11/27/12

Several years ago both of my parents were identified as being at risk for developing type II diabetes. Diagnosing my parents was an easy call for their doctors to make since both of them exhibited many of the tell-tale signs: moderate obesity, advanced age, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and a sedentary lifestyle. They are also Asian, which dramatically increases their risk of developing type II diabetes(1). While somewhere around 10% of the Asian American population are diabetic, 90-95% of these cases are type II diabetes. My parents’ doctors primarily recommended lifestyle changes including more exercise and dietary modifications. The latter consisted namely of cutting back on that linchpin of Vietnamese cuisine, white rice, which has been proposed to increase the risk of type II diabetes (2). Unlike my parents’ situation, however, diagnosing diabetes in many Asian Americans turns out to be not so simple. Read more

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