What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? — 1st Corinthians 6:19 KJ
Last week, you read part three of “Dousing the Flames of the Diabetes Epidemic.” This is a repeat opening statement for new readers. My mother, Fannie Estelle Hill Grant, only lived 12 years after her diagnosis. Here is the continuation of her story.
Mother lost both of her legs, had kidney dialysis, high blood pressure and seven strokes in 12 years. She was only 61 when she had her first major stroke, which resulted in paralysis. Last week, we explained about what diabetes is and how we get this rampant disease.
According to National Institutes of Health (NIH), heart disease is the leading cause of death in people with Type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is curable with a proper change in diet and adding regular, physical exercise, daily! There are a few exceptions to this rule. Some have contracted Type 2 diabetes despite not having weight issues, but those cases are often genetic, and lack of exercise is still a factor.
Hypoglycemia, hyperglycemia, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, heart disease, amputations, strokes, blindness/eye problems and kidney disease are complications associated with Type 2 diabetes.
NIH says Type 2 diabetes mellitus statistics illustrates the magnitude of this disease, especially among African-Americans adults, who are 50 to 100 percent more likely to have Type 2 diabetes than are Whites.
NIH further found reasons for racial disparities in diabetes prevalence are not clear, but behavioral (how we live our lives with regard to our diets), environmental, socioeconomic, physiological (do we exercise or not), and genetic contributors (we were born this way) all seem to be reasons why. Today, 4.9 million African Americans have Type 2 diabetes, according to NIH, and are twice as likely to have diabetes as White Americans of similar age.
African Americans with diabetes are more likely to have complications and experience greater disability from the complications than white Americans with diabetes. Why? Lack of knowledge, and refusal to change diets and add exercise! Death rates for people with diabetes are 27 percent higher for African Americans compared with Whites, and steadily rising. Once Whites discover they have the disease, many begin to eat more green leafy vegetables and less carbohydrates.
NIH also cited Whites had Type 2 diabetes much more often than African Americans through the first half of the 20th century (1901-1951). Slavery had ended, yet many Blacks still worked as sharecroppers for the most part, so they were exercising by working in the fields, remaining healthy and strong.
Diet and lack of exercise factors may have had a greater effect on Whites during those early years. White didn’t work in fields; therefore, Type 2 diabetes seemed only to be the White man’s disease, until Blacks began to live our lives as equal Americans, with office jobs and much less farmwork. Whites, on the other hand, began to go to the gym, take more daily walks, change their lifestyles.
Regular physical activity will protect you from getting Type 2 diabetes; inversely, lack of physical activity will help you get this disease. Researchers suspect a lack of exercise is one factor contributing to the high rates of Type 2 diabetes in African Americans, especially with many still choosing “soul food” diets!
According to this research, 50 percent of African-American men and 67 percent of African-American women reported they participated in little or no leisure time physical activity.
As NIH Director-General Margaret Chan said, “Even in the poorest settings, governments must ensure that people are able to make these healthy choices and that health systems are able to diagnose and treat people with diabetes.”
Lyndia Grant is a speaker/writer living in the D.C. area. Her radio show, “Think on These Things,” airs Fridays at 6 p.m. on 1340 AM (WYCB), a Radio One station. To reach Grant, visit her website, www.lyndiagrantshow.com, email email@example.com or call 202-558-2107. Follow her on Twitter @LyndiaGrant and on Facebook.