Know ye not that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God. You are not your own. — 1 Corinthians 6:19 NIV
The fourth part of my series aims to teach how simple it is for any one of us to turn Type 2 diabetes around. This disease is definitely not a death sentence, though it can be if left unchecked and not properly managed. When blood travels through small blood vessels in the heart, it can cause blood clots, which lead to heart attacks and amputation of feet and legs. If blood cannot get through to any part of your body, that body part will die. Type 2 diabetes can cause such devastations.
When your feet and legs die from loss of blood flow, you no longer feel your feet. The nerves are too damaged and don’t work — gangrene has set in. Next comes amputations. It is just like a rotten spot on a white potato. Your eyes can be affected, too, to the point of blindness. Your kidneys stop functioning, requiring dialysis. Your blood has become poisoned because your kidneys are no longer filtering your blood.
You can prevent these disastrous ends by changing your lifestyle. This does not mean just going on a diet, either. Diets are only a temporary fix. Start with knowing your A1C count (a blood test that measures the average amount of sugar in your blood over a 90-day period) and making lifestyle changes. Begin to eat healthy and exercise regularly.
According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, an estimated 30.3 million people in the United States, or 9.4 percent of the population, have diabetes. An estimated 84.1 million Americans 18 or older have pre-diabetes. About one in four people who have diabetes don’t know they have the disease. The ability to turn things around for each of us, though, is within our own control.
Two years ago, Oprah Winfrey learned she was pre-diabetic. This time, she did exactly what is required. Notice how she changed to a healthy, diabetic friendly diet by eliminating high carbonated foods, curtailed sweets, continued to exercise, and lost 42 pounds, you saw her on TV with Weight-Watchers. She has been successful, and is no longer pre-diabetic, plus her blood pressure is back under control too. Oprah has lost weight many times over the years, always gaining it back. This time though, things were different, it is for her health.
An avid reader as you all know, it is obvious she began to read up on this disease. Her mother died from Type 2 diabetes complications, so Oprah understood the connection.
Twenty-five years ago, neither my mother nor any of her family members knew what was required to turn this diagnosis around. Therefore, she only lived 12 years after her diagnosis, with some devastating side effects. Mother lost both her legs to amputations and required kidney dialysis. She had seven strokes, the first major one coming when she was only 61 years old. Devoid of today’s new cures, paralysis soon set in. The cause? Improper diet and lack of exercise.
Just over 150 years ago, Black people in America were slaves, eating poorly and working from sunup to sundown. They burned off the devastating effects of soul foods with strenuous daily, exercise. No matter what they ate, soul food included, they stayed healthy. It was cyclical. They ate, then worked it off, day after day.
“Slaves didn’t die from diseases such as Type 2 diabetes or cancer, their masters/owners did,” said Dr. Sherita Hill Golden, director of the Diabetes and Metabolism department at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
Their field work was exercise. Tired from the strenuous work, but healthy.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or call 240-602-6295. Follow her on Twitter @LyndiaGrant and on Facebook.