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There have been an extensive number of diabetes studies among the Hispanic and Mexican-American populations in the American Southwest. Four prominent studies and one based on Hispanic Health and Nutrition Examination Survey data will be discussed.

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK):

  • Hispanic Americans, especially Mexican-Americans and Puerto Ricans, develop Type 2 diabetes at higher rates than non-Hispanic white Americans.
  • 1.8 million Hispanic American adults (more than one in ten) have Type 2 diabetes. Half of these individuals are diagnosed and the other half remain undiagnosed.
  • Different Hispanic groups have different rates of diabetes. In the 45 to 74 age group, about 26 percent of Puerto Ricans, 24 percent of Mexican-Americans, and 15 percent of Cuban Americans have diagnosed diabetes.
  • Genetic risk factors for Type 2 diabetes are diabetes in first-degree family members, significant American Indians or African ancestry or both.
  • Medical risk factors for Type 2 diabetes are impaired glucose tolerance, hyperinsulinemia and insulin resistance, overall obesity, central obesity, and a history of gestational diabetes.
  • Higher rates of the diabetes complications (nephropathy, retinopathy, and peripheral vascular disease) have been documented in several studies with Mexican-Americans, whereas lower rates of myocardial infarctions have been found.

This lecture/presentation will examine the prevalence of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (Type 2 DM) and the dental public health ramifications among older people, particularly women, of Hispanic ancestry living along the Texas-Mexico border; a segment of a population at risk on which this particular aspect of Type 2 diabetes has not been completely addressed. The lecture presents the results of a survey, which suggest that there is a higher prevalence of Type 2 diabetes with 33 percent of Mexican Americans 64 to 75 years of age that have Type 2 diabetes and 42 percent with undiagnosed diabetes.

The lecture also will provide an insight as to the magnitude of the impact of Type 2 diabetes on dental public health; the assumption is that Type 2 diabetes is a contributing factor rather than the primary etiological factor in the initiation of oral disease. This presentation will contribute further to the understanding of the oral manifestation patterns related to the high incidence and prevalence of Type 2 diabetes and the relative role played by different risk factors. The specific goal of the lecture is to examine the distribution and demonstrated-determinants of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus in order to plan for future dental public health care and prevention programs.