Wellness News 4-20

     (BPRW) Approximately 2.7 million or 11.4% of all African Americans aged 20 years or older have diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association.  However, one-third of them do not know it.  The fact of the matter is that diabetes is a silent killer that is not so sweet!
    What exactly is diabetes?  The American Diabetes Association defines diabetes as a disease in which the body does not produce or properly use insulin, a hormone that is needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy needed for daily life.  The cause of diabetes continues to be a mystery, although genetics and environmental factors such as obesity and a lack of exercise appear to play key roles.
     Diabetes can strike in various ways, causing life threatening consequences such as heart disease and stroke.  Diabetes often results in other complications such as blindness, kidney disease and amputations, as well.
   There are two main types of diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2.  Type 1 diabetes results from the body’s inability to produce insulin, allowing glucose to enter and fuel the cells of the body.  Type 2 diabetes results from insulin resistance (a condition in which the body unsuccessfully uses insulin), combined with relative insulin deficiency.  To prevent the occurrence of either type, early intervention is critical.
   “Early intervention in people with pre-diabetes is important to prevent or delay type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease and to reduce health care costs for the individual and the employer,” said Gregory A. Nichols, PhD, Senior Research Associate, Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research.  “Doctors should be testing people for elevated blood glucose regularly and checking for other health problems in those found to have pre-diabetes.”
   In ideal situations, African Americans with diabetes will monitor their disease to keep it under control.  This includes getting educated about the disease; learning and practicing the skills necessary to better control blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol levels; and receiving regular checkups from their doctor.  With these steps, maybe we can make diabetes a little easier to control … and make life a little more sweet.