News Release

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Lifestyle Changes Can Help Older Hispanics Manage Diabetes

Diabetes is one of the most serious health issues facing older Hispanics in the United States. On average, Hispanic Americans are almost twice as likely to have diabetes as non-Hispanic whites and to develop complications such as heart disease, high blood pressure, blindness, and kidney disease. Diabetes is the fourth leading cause of death among Hispanics age 65 and older. The good news is that careful control of blood glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol can help prevent or delay diabetes and its complications.

Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes in older Hispanics. This type of diabetes tends to run in families, but other factors add to the risk. For example, being over-weight and inactive can sometimes lead to diabetes in people who are at risk.

Diabetes can be prevented in people who are at increased risk and even in those who have a condition called pre-diabetes. People with pre-diabetes have blood glucose levels that are higher than normal but not yet high enough for a diagnosis of diabetes. They are more likely to develop diabetes within 10 years and are more likely to have a heart attack or stroke. People with pre-diabetes can sharply lower their chances of developing diabetes through modest weight loss with diet and exercise. Changes in diet and exercise also are effective in curbing the development of diabetes in older people.

The National Institute on Aging (NIA) is offering a free fact sheet in Spanish with information on preventing, detecting, and treating diabetes. To order a free copy of La diabetes en las personas mayores: una enfermedad que usted puede controlar, call 1-800-222-2225 weekdays between 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Eastern time. A Spanish-speaking information specialist is available to respond to calls. You also can order this and other Spanish publications on healthy aging on the NIA website at

The NIA, part of the National Institutes of Health of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, leads the Federal effort supporting and conducting research on aging and the special needs of older people. The Institute is committed to making health information available to older Hispanic Americans and their families.

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit

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