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BellaOnline's African American Culture Editor

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Diabetes & The African-American Woman


There are many persons at risk for Diabetes. Many are not aware, and rarely get yearly physicals. Sometimes, the only doctor seen is in the emergency room. Its been reported that roughly 2.7 million or 11.4% of all African Americans aged 20 and over have diabetes.

We have heard about Hypertension and High Cholesterol. Now, there is a substantial rise in Diabetes among African Americans; especially African American women—making up the highest percentage of new cases for the disease. One in four African American women aged 55 and over have diabetes. This can be contributed to the percentage of overweight, obese and stress in the African American woman, and their longer lifespan. Diabetes has become the fifth deadliest disease in America, with no cure.

What is diabetes? Diabetes is a disease in which your blood sugar (glucose), levels are too high. Glucose comes from the food we eat. Insulin is a hormone that helps turn glucose into energy. With Type I diabetes, your body doesn’t make insulin. With Type II, your body does not make or use insulin well. Thereby, leaving the glucose in the blood.

Type I, or juvenile diabetes primarily affects children and young adults. People affected with Type I diabetes must take daily insulin injections to regulate their insulin levels. They must do this to survive. Type I diabetes are often genetic.

Continuing to rise are cases for Type II diabetes, which accounts for more than 90 percent of diabetic cases worldwide. Gestational diabetes (a temporary condition during pregnancy), is also on the rise.

Severe affects of diabetes are: blindness, loss of limbs, heart attacks, stroke, kidney disease and death.

Poor diet and lifestyle are a major concern for the substantial rise of Diabetes in the African American woman. A diet high in fat and sugar, and a sedentary lifestyle are a sure way of developing diabetes.

Through proper diet and exercise, African American woman can cut their chances of getting this disease. If you are a woman that already has diabetes; there is still hope for you as well. Studies have shown that, those who have changed their diet, and have lost at least ten percent of their body weight, have noticed a significant change in their insulin and glucose levels.

How do you know if you have diabetes? First, you can be tested during your yearly physical. Also, you may look for the following symptoms associated with this disease: Frequent urination, thirst, dizziness, fatigue, weight loss, and blurred vision. Also note, that they may not be any symptoms. It’s always best to keep up with yearly physicals and get tested.

Continued exercise, a change in diet, and stress management can help to control diabetes. As well as, taking medication prescribed. Yet, the best way to control Diabetes is through preventive measures. Educating people, and having a healthy diet and lifestyle is key to turning the numbers around, and preventing it from occurring in the next generation.







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Content copyright © 2014 by Ruthe McDonald. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Ruthe McDonald. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Ruthe McDonald for details.

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