Type 2 Diabetes Prevalence in Hispanic Community Growing - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Type 2 Diabetes Prevalence in Hispanic Community Growing

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NBCRightNow.com - The Washington State Department of Health says 9 percent of Washingtonians are living with Diabetes.

They also estimate more than one third of all people living in Washington have prediabetes and most do not know it.

One of the groups most vulnerable to the disease are Hispanics.

"Diabetes is really prevalent in the Hispanic community," Dr. Natalia Luera explained.

The DOH says the state's Hispanic population has a significantly higher risk for Type 2 diabetes and the prevalence is growing faster than other groups' in the state.

It is something Dr. Luera has seen first hand.

"There are actually a lot of new cases and in fact one of my colleagues diagnosed 12 new cases in just the last couple of weeks," Dr. Luera said.

Genetics and how much money you make have a lot to do with these numbers.

The Department of Health says those with incomes less than $25,000 a year are twice as likely to have been diagnosed with diabetes than those making $75,000 or more.

Just like those with a high school diploma or less are also nearly twice as likely to have the disease than those who graduated college.

"When I came here the number of people with diabetes was overwhelming," Dr. Luera explained.

12 percent of Hispanics in Washington state report having Diabetes.

That number stands at 17 percent for Native Americans.

Factors include lack of access to preventative care and screenings.

But Dr. Luera says culture also plays a role.

"I think we tend to like chunkier children chunkier babies, but unfortunately diabetes can start early and it also starts in obese children."

"One of the most disturbing trends that we are seeing, not just in our area, but across the country is the incidents of Type 2 Diabetes in children," Dr. Amy Person, Benton Franklin Health District said.

Meanwhile, the disease is costing the state billions.

State health numbers show if rates of diabetes persist, as patients age we will be spending $5.5 Billion by 2024. That is why the state is working to cut down the number of patients with the disease.

"Don't wait until the last moment to get checked for diabetes," Dr. Luera concluded.