W2 Reflection: Type II Diabetes in Asian American Males

Graph showing number of persons with diagnosed diabetes, United States, 1980-2011. Links for methodology and data limitations follow this figure.

Many factors contribute to a person’s health, such as race, genetics, economic status, and geographic location of a individual. Many diseases are genetic in nature and therefore a person’s family’s disease history can be extremely important in determining whether or not he or she may be prone to certain adverse health issues or complications. Similar to genetics, a person’s race may also have a huge impact on the overall health that individual can expect to have.  This could be due to the genetic preferences each specific race carries, as well as different environments and circumstances each race may experience. For example, a minority race can suffer from adverse health effects due to racism and the stress it causes, as described in the video, as well as better or worse healthcare offered to a certain race in a certain area. Also, if a disease is more common in one race over another, individuals of a certain race who tend to cluster together geographically will be even more at risk for spreading that disease among his or her community than if they were scattered among people of multiple races.

The health disparity I chose that Asian American males and Asian Americans in general are known to suffer more from is Type II Diabetes. I don’t believe that social determinants are the cause of an increased incidence of Type II Diabetes in Asian Americans but after reading about it, have found that genetics play a large role. The specific genetic reason for an increased incidence of this disease in Asian Americans was not mentioned in the articles I read, but the article on goldsea.com mentioned that Type II Diabetes occurs at a lower BMI in Asian Americans than it does in most other races. The chart above, taken from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, shows the percentage of individuals of a certain age and race who were diagnosed with diabetes in the years shown at the bottom. It shows that Asian Americans are diagnosed more than all races but African Americans males and females.

“Diabetes Type 2: Discriminatory Disease,” accessed May 29, 2015, http://goldsea.com/Text/index.php?id=1570.

“Diabetes Public Health Resource,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, accessed May 29, 2015, http://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/statistics/prev/national/figraceethsex.htm.

2 thoughts on “W2 Reflection: Type II Diabetes in Asian American Males

  1. Hi Jon,
    I really liked how you explained the many factors that contribute to one’s overall health, because I agree. There are more determinates for good health than I think people realize; geographic location being the most unthought-of. Race, but especially genetics, both definitely play a huge role in determining your overall health. I think family medical history is important to know so we ourselves will have a better understanding of certain diseases or illnesses we might acquire later in life. When you mentioned that “individuals of a certain race who tend to cluster together geographically will be even more at risk for spreading that disease among his or her community than if they were scattered among people of multiple races” it really made me think of the Bad Sugar video. I think Type II Diabetes is heavily dependent on genetic factors and environment. I think many factors have to be considered when we think about how we contract Type II Diabetes. Not just genetics, but also where we live, what types of food we eat, and how we maintain our overall health are important factors as well. I am a Caucasian female but Type II Diabetes is pretty prevalent in my family so I really enjoyed reading your post.

  2. Hello Jon,
    I agree with the fact that many contributing factors go into what a person’s health may be like. I also made the point where genetic factors play a role in a person’s susceptibility to a disease. Where our two viewpoints differ is in the point about race. I went on to say that race is a self-defined and not necessarily a genetic factor. I do agree that groups of people share similar genetic make-up which groups them in being prone to a certain issue, but race is not this grouping. This point was made in the lecture that was assigned for this week. I think racial categories are not really important in clinical studies. Just knowing what a person categorizes them as, does not tell the whole story. There is no way to genetically test for race so it really isn’t as useful as some people think. The statistics that you provided were very interesting. I would have never guessed how prevalent Asian American males were to type II diabetes. I think a better way to talk about health disparities would be to refer to some other grouping that directly correlates with genetic material. Referring to race is just not specific enough.

Leave a Reply