(BPT) - Diabetes disproportionately affects the Hispanic community,1 but cultural differences, common misconceptions and language barriers may keep people of Hispanic heritage from taking insulin if they need it.2 Myths about diabetes and insulin treatment could hinder Hispanic-Americans from effectively managing their diabetes, experts say.2
Nearly 17 percent of Hispanic-Americans have diabetes (diagnosed or undiagnosed), compared to just 10 percent of non-Hispanic white adults in the U.S.1 Additionally, Hispanics with type 2 diabetes are approximately 1.5 times less likely to adhere to insulin therapy than non-Hispanic white patients.2
“As a Hispanic healthcare professional who has worked within our community for many years, I’ve seen many Hispanics with type 2 diabetes who are hesitant to start insulin due to misconceptions about insulin treatment and diabetes management,” says Dr. Frank Lavernia, founder and director of the North Broward Diabetes Center in Pompano Beach, Florida. “They worry that they will have to overhaul their lifestyle.”
Popular TV host and legendary entertainer Don Francisco knows firsthand the impact misconceptions can have on his own care of type 2 diabetes.
“I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes 16 years ago, and at that time, I believed many things about diabetes that weren’t correct,” Don Francisco says. “These misconceptions prevented me from making the best decisions for my health.” Today, Don Francisco manages his type 2 diabetes through daily medication and healthy lifestyle habits, allowing him to stay active and include the foods he loves in his meal plan.
Hispanics face other obstacles in managing type 2 diabetes, research shows. The TRIAD study also found 23 percent of Spanish speakers said language barriers kept them from effectively communicating with their healthcare providers.2 Another study found that 52 percent of Hispanic adults with type 2 diabetes have poor health literacy, which is correlated with poor outcomes and is defined as, “an individual’s ability to read, understand and use healthcare information to make effective healthcare decisions and follow instructions for treatment.”2
To help dispel myths and address some facts about type 2 diabetes and insulin treatment, Don Francisco has joined Eli Lilly and Company and Boehringer Ingelheim to launch a new public awareness initiative, Basado en Hechos. At basadoenhechos.com, people can learn about some misconceptions around type 2 diabetes and insulin, and find information on a diabetes treatment.
Additionally, Don Francisco is visiting cities across the country to share his own personal journey of living with type 2 diabetes. These conversations will help to educate Hispanic communities on some of the facts about type 2 diabetes and insulin treatment.
“I joined the Basado en Hechos initiative to share what I’ve learned over the years with the 3.2 million U.S. Hispanics living with diabetes,”3 Don Francisco says. “I encourage people living with diabetes, as well as their friends and family, to visit basadoenhechos.com to see a video in Spanish addressing myths and facts about diabetes and insulin. I also hope this initiative will inspire people to have conversations with their healthcare providers about treatment options. Together, we can learn about the condition based on facts.”
1. Diabetes Among Hispanics: All Are Not Equal. (n.d.). Retrieved April 26, 2017, from http://www.diabetes.org/newsroom/press-releases/2014/diabetes-among-hispanics-all-are-not-equal.html
2. Campos, C. (2007). Addressing Cultural Barriers to the Successful Use of Insulin in Hispanics With Type 2 Diabetes. Southern Medical Journal. Retrieved April 27, 2017, from http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/561831
3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Summary Health Statistics for U.S. Adults: National Health Interview Survey, 2012. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; 2014.