Latinas and Diabetes

Latinas and Diabetes

This past week the FDA issued information related to Latino diabetes detection, care and outcomes. The information is stunning. This direction is read by doctors, community activists and people who receive the weekly FDA guidance. This particular overview focuses on women termed Latina’s as a subgroup of the Latino population. I think you will find the information as shocking as I did.

The FDA statement begins with this statistic ”nearly 1 million Latinas aren’t aware that they are at risk of developing diabetes” (FDA Gives Latinas Tools to Fight Diabetes, 2014, p. 1). The article goes on to tell us some the reasons. “Many will likely not get the preventive or other care they need because they won’t visit a physician or medical clinic” (FDA Gives Latinas Tools to Fight Diabetes, 2014, p. 1). It is amazing to me that women the subset of the population, those that I have always thought would be most likely to visit a doctor, have such a high rate of not visiting the doctor.

Now we might think the solution is to get the Latina population to the doctor. But look at this statistic which illustrates what happens then Latina’s do visit the doctor:

“About 5.5 million Latinas have elevated fasting plasma glucose, and of those, nearly 4 million weren’t told by a health care professional that they were at risk for diabetes, according to a study in the March 2014 edition of Hispanic Health Care International” (FDA Gives Latinas Tools to Fight Diabetes, 2014, p. 1).

In a follow up article the Huffington Post reported that the official document states the following:

“In addition to our finding regarding lower health care utilization for Latina women, the finding that the majority of women with elevated FPG levels who had not been told they were at risk, even among those with higher levels of contact with a health care provider, indicates the urgent need to incorporate diabetes screening and culturally competent care across a broader range of health care visits,” said Sherry Deren, Ph.D., Director, CDUHR and Senior Research Scientist, College of Nursing, a co-author on the study” (Gillette, 2014a).

There are many reasons for this lack of information and language usually tops the list (Gillette, 2014a). But when you consider the awful ramifications this report is damming of our healthcare system. We have more than a hole we have a gaping breach in how Latino’s in general and Latina’s in particular are being treated.

The Huffington post reports that:

“Researchers indicate the limited doctor discussion regarding diabetes among Latinas with elevated FPG is taking away the opportunity those women have to prevent diabetes. These Latinas have passed through the other hurdles present and made it to their physician; they have done the tests and have received a potentially life-changing result; however, for some reason they are not being informed of what their test results mean” (Gillette, 2014a).

And one final statistic reads as follows:

“This is particularly concerning for Latinas because of their high rate of diabetes; the Office of Minority Health indicates both male and female Hispanics are 1.7 times more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes compared to non-Hispanic whites and 1.5 times as likely as non-Hispanic whites to die from diabetes” (Gillette, 2014a).

These statistics are not acceptable. We see in this information why operates the EsTuDiabetes Community. Outreach no matter how it is done is most important. On commentator on the Huffington post site referred to this in the following manner “All those numbers are false, not only regarding this issue, but all the statistics , where 11 millions of undocumented immigrants are not included in the health system and the health authorities exhibit their apocryphal statistics on which many millions of dollars are spent every year in vain” (Quote attributed to (Les C.) as posted supplemental to the article by Gillette, 2014a).

It makes one wonder, if this is real (and all indications are that it is), then the problem is very big. Dr. Helene D. Clayton-Jeter, a co-author on the study, states that there is a definite need for an examination of strategies that are “considerate of culture and language preferences, including case management, extended follow-up care, and a team approach for supporting Latinas and others with pre-diabetes and diabetes in order to respond to an increasingly serious public health threat” (Gillette, 2014b).

It is an amazing story of under-service let’s hope that this trend can be corrected. Sooner than later is better for certain.


FDA Gives Latinas Tools to Fight Diabetes. (2014). Washington DC: Office of Health and Constituent Affairs Patient Network News Retrieved from

Gillette, Hope. (2014a). What Millions Of Latinas Aren't Being Told By Their Doctors. Retrieved May 6, 2014, from

Gillette, Hope. (2014b, March 12, 2014). Why visiting the doctor isn’t helping Latinas at-risk for diabetes, Online, Saludidy. Retrieved from



Hi Rick. Your blog is downright shocking. I truly hope that this info from the FDA will lead to better outcomes for Latinas. Slightly off-topic, a book that I love is Sonia Sotomayor's "My Beloved World". From Peurto Rico, she lived in the Bronx as a child and treated her own Type 1 back in the days of boiling your own syringes for reuse.