One in every ten Hispanic/Latino persons will develop Diabetes Type 2 after the age of 20, according to the National Diabetes Education Program. Of those 10%, nearly 12% are of Mexican ethnicity. The ethnically Mexican population, both documented and undocumented, accounts for 68% of the Agricultural Worker population in the United States.
Naturally, with Diabetes risk factors being higher within Latino populations, it is important for special vulnerable populations – like the United States’ Migrant Agricultural Workers – to have provided to them the important tools and resources for both understanding the risk of Diabetes and how to manage it if diagnosed.
Diabetes Type 2 (or Diabetes Mellitus) happens when our bodies cannot process glucose (or sugar) like it used to. Sugar levels rise and our bodies try to make up for it by producing more insulin. However, after time the body cannot regulate the process and thus Diabetes Type 2 is diagnosed.
Symptoms of Diabetes Type 2 often include feeling fatigued, thirsty, numbness in the feet and hands, blurred vision, and higher susceptibility to cuts and bruises that won’t heal.
Agricultural Workers face a greater risk due to their specific barriers to health care. Lack of health insurance and transportation are big factors. But Dr. Keshelava also reported that workers might fear the retaliation of their superiors if they are feeling sick. Retaliation can be hours cut or being fired.
The good news is there are ways to manage Diabetes Type 2 within the migrant Agricultural Worker population. A collaborative Farmworker Health Network member, MHP Salud, has programs that train Community Health Workers to go out in the fields and offer culturally appropriate education on Diabetes Type 2.
NCFH, in coordination with Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs, has created low-literacy and culturally appropriate factsheets for Migrant Health Centers to provide patients who have been diagnosed with Diabetes Type 2.
Written By: Mindy Morgan
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The National Center for Farmworker Health
Improving health care access for one of America's most vulnerable populations