Diabetes: A Silent Killer
Diabetes used to be considered a disease that targeted the older demographic, but now younger women are suffering from the condition in record numbers. In the spotlight is Type 2 Diabetes, the most common type of diabetes and one of the biggest health challenges facing African-Americans, and especially African-American women.
It’s a serious health condition that affects women in all life stages. It is unique to women because it can affect the health of both a mother and her unborn children. With the increasing life span of women and the rapid growth of minority populations in the United States , the number of women at high risk for diabetes and its complications will continue to increase.
Did you know:
Of the 15.7 million people with diabetes in the United States, more than half (8.1 million) are women. Minority racial and ethnic groups are the hardest hit by type 2 diabetes; the prevalence is at least 2-4 times higher among black, Hispanic, American Indian, and Asian Pacific Islander women than among white women.
About 90 to 95 percent of women with diabetes have Type 2 diabetes (formerly called adult-onset). Type 2 diabetes usually develops after age 40 and occurs when the body's cells become resistant to insulin. Insulin is a hormone secreted by the pancreas that allows glucose (sugar) to enter the body's cells and be converted to energy. Type 1 diabetes (formerly called juvenile-onset) occurs because the pancreas makes little or no insulin.
While you can't control some risk factors associated with type 2 diabetes, such as your age, race, or family history; you can prevent or delay developing type 2 diabetes by taking these precautions:
Maintain a healthy weight. Calculate your Body Mass Index (BMI) to see if you are at a healthy weight.Eat low-fat, well-balanced meals. Make physical activity a habit. Health benefits are gained by doing the following each week:2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity: or 1 hour and 15 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity or 2 combination of moderate and vigorous aerobic activity and muscle-strengthening activities on two or more days of the week
Limit alcohol to no more than one drink per day.
You could have type 2 diabetes and not know it. Type 2 diabetes sometimes has no warning signs. Talk to your doctor about diabetes in your family. Get your blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and blood sugar levels checked regularly, as advised by your doctor. If you find out you have diabetes, you can take steps to manage the disease and live a full and active life. Making healthy eating and physical activity a regular part of your family life also will help to lower your loved ones' risk of diabetes.
Sources: Women's Health
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Words By: Sid Powell
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