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Women in minority racial and ethnic groups are the hardest hit by type 2 diabetes; the prevalence is two to four times higher among black, Hispanic, American Indian, and Asian-Pacific Islander women than among white women.Because minority populations are expected to grow at a faster rate than the U. population as a whole, the number of women in these groups who are diagnosed with diabetes will increase significantly in the coming years.Because women make up a greater proportion of the elderly population and women with diabetes live longer than their male counterparts, elderly women with diabetes outnumber elderly men with diabetes.Diabetes is one of the leading underlying causes of death among women aged 65 years and older.For women who do not currently have diabetes, pregnancy brings the risk of gestational diabetes.Gestational diabetes develops in 2% to 5% of all pregnancies but disappears when a pregnancy is over.Women with diabetes are also more likely to have a heart attack, and at a younger age, than women without diabetes.
Gestational diabetes usually ends after the baby is born, but women with gestational diabetes have a 20%-50% chance of developing type 2 diabetes in the 5-10 years after childbirth.In the US, almost 21 million children and adults have diabetes -- including 9.7 million women -- and almost one third of them do not know it. The burden of diabetes on women is unique, because the disease can affect both mothers and their unborn children.Diabetes can cause difficulties during pregnancy such as a miscarriage or a baby born with birth defects.Women who have had gestational diabetes or have given birth to a baby weighting more than 9 pounds are at an increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes later in life.The prevalence of diabetes is at least 2-4 times higher among African American, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian, and Asian/Pacific Islander women than among white women. Because of the increasing lifespan of women and the rapid growth of minority populations, the number of women in the United States at high risk for diabetes and its complications is increasing.