American Indians and Locals of Alaska are at Three times Higher Risk of Diabetes Type 2

Diabetes type 2 is a highly prevalent condition that could affect anyone. There are no such known factors of this disease but a new study has identified American Indians and natives of Alaska to be at a higher risk of diabetes than white Americans.

This high prevalence also shows that these people are at a high risk of cardiovascular problems such as stroke, heart attack, and heart failure, confirmed by the American Heart Association.

It has released a scientific statement as “Cardiovascular Health in American Indians and Alaska Natives,” which is published in the American Heart Association’s journal named Circulation. Click here to read the complete report.

This report is a complete overview of how diabetes is a problem of public concern and which factors should be studied before making a healthcare policy. It names diabetes type 2 as one of the major challenges for good cardiovascular health which has probably the highest incidence of any medical problem in the US and all other parts of the world.

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According to this statement, the American Indians and Alaska locals are at the highest risk of developing cardiovascular diseases. This risk is seen even at earlier ages as compared to other, white Americans.

In general, heart-related problems are more than double in American Indians and people of Alaska that makes nearly 5.2 million people. not to forget, more than 1.3rd of deaths caused by any cardiovascular event are seen in people below 65 years of age.

In addition to this, obesity is also a major problem in both American Indians and Alaska locals which increases their health risks even more. The report also tells that between 30% to 40% of American Indians are obese than English Americans.

This report cites a study called “The Strong Heart Study” which found that genetic role is often ignored in obesity and diabetes. So the lifestyle and dietary habits are not solely responsible for causing these problems. Also, it is necessary for healthcare experts to evaluate any heart-related risk in people who identify themselves as American Indians and Alaska locals.

The determinants of health risk for both American Indians and Alaska locals are hard to detect for being longstanding and complicated. Another important factor is its limited access to healthcare. Only in 2017, nearly 19% of American Indians were reported without a ‘health insurance’.

The U.S government’s ‘Indian Health Service’ program has targetted 1.6 million American Indians and locals of Alaska which need medical assistance. However, this number is less than 1.3rd of the total American Indian and Alaskan population in the U.S, suggesting this program to be more widely spread.

There are many things that could contribute to the health risks in these people. For example, historic events i.e. diseases, tribal disputes, war, etc are a major factor for creating a ‘cultural mistrust’ between people. In addition to this, various individual factors such as smoking is also a major contributor to their health risks.

The anti-smoking campaigns seem less effective in American Indians and experts believe that the only way to educate them is by using the community reinforcement technique.

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Along with these individual risks, there are many other factors that should also be considered before planning a new healthcare policy for American Indians and natives for Alaska. For example, their exposure to the toxic chemicals mainly presents in the groundwater is a largely ignored problem in Mid and Southwest areas.

All these methods, combined could help to save American Indians and natives of Alaska from diabetes type 2 and cardiovascular diseases. There is no other way than limiting the risk factors from saving them from dangerous life-long health conditions. However, the awareness programs either governmental or private body-linked should not stop educating them on these risk factors at a personal level.



Areeba Hussain

The author is a fulltime medical and healthcare writer. She graduated in Medical Microbiology and Immunology with distinction. Her areas of prime interest are medicine, medical technology, disease awareness, and research analysis. Twitter @Areeba94789300

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