We’ve flirted with diabetes since the beginning of time, it has been part of our environment, and has become part of our family and our heritage. We live and die with it, it sits with us at the dinner table, at the beauty salon, on the bus, in the car, in the classroom, and in the office. And especially in those days, when we have no intention of walking or moving, that’s when it takes hold and doesn’t allow us to get out of our stupor. We have accepted it as a natural companion in our daily lives, and often we realize that we have a guest when it suddenly steals the control out of our health and our lives. So diabetes, surname mellitus, is thus one of the oldest diseases of humanity.
Dr. Larissa Avilés Santa during a medical trip to Guatemala. Photo courtesy of Dr. Larissa Avilés Santa.
From a young age, Dr. Larissa Avilés Santa knew she wanted to study the human body. “When I was in fourth or fifth grade I remember opening an Anatomy atlas and how fascinated I was by each illustration. The part of the book that caught my attention was the one about the male and female reproductive systems, and the explanation about the menstrual cycle and pregnancy,” she says. It was back then that her interest in endocrinology was born.
A comprehensive health and lifestyle analysis of people from a range of Hispanic/ Latino origins shows that this segment of the U.S. population is diverse, not only in ancestry, culture, and economic status, but also in the prevalence of several diseases, risk factors, and lifestyle habits.