Diabetes remains an epidemic in the U.S., but experts are now more concerned that certain populations may not be getting the right kind of treatment because of their ethnic and cultural beliefs.
Physicians can’t use a one-size-fits-all approach to treating patients with diabetes; physicians, families and community leaders must work together to develop culturally specific programs, according to Dr. Kevin McKinney, Minority Health Affairs Committee chairman of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists.
Cultural viewpoints of medicine and disease only compound the issue, said McKinney, who spoke at a recent American Medical Association media briefing on diabetes.
For instance, in some societies, religion influences one’s physical and emotional well-being equally. When an illness occurs, a family may seek out the advice of a religious leader before consulting a physician, which would delay treatment and increase the risk of complications.
“Most people in these communities don’t even know they’re at risk,” McKinney said. “They may know about diabetes and its effects, but they’re unaware that...