Florida A&M Students tackle Diabetes and School

According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), African-Americans are 1.7 times more likely to have diabetes than non-Hispanics and whites. It’s also the most common disease African-Americans develop or inherit.

According to ADA of all African-Americans 20 years or older, 13.2 percent have diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes is when the body does not produce insulin, and type 2 diabetes is when your body does not use insulin properly.

Deanna Boone, an emergency medicine pharmacist at Broward Health North, said diet and exercise are major factors in preventing and taking care of diabetes.

“Once diagnosed with diabetes, it’s incredibly important to maintain healthy diet and exercise,” Boone said. “There’s no cure and diabetes is associated with increased risk of heart disease and heart attack, among other things. In order to control the diseases it’s important to pay attention to what foods are consumed and exercise.”

Herbert Washington, 21, from Miami, was recently diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes last October. The diabetes was something he least expected even though it runs through his family.

“I was completely blindsided,” Herbert said.

He thought he had just a normal fever and that there was a flu going around campus because everyone was becoming sick. Later he started to have cramps from working out.

“Sometimes when I was in class physically, but not mentally,” Herbert said. “I would have to step out of class and go the bathroom a lot.”

Herbert didn’t know that he was feeling the symptoms of diabetes.

Now having to taking two tablets a night before he goes to sleep, Herbert says that his lifestyle and eating habits have completely changed.

“My eating habits in college was to grab-and-go,” Herbert said.

Epiphany Washington, a fourth-year FAMU biology student from Tallahassee, was 12 years old when she was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes after coming out of a two-day diabetic coma.

“My whole life changed,” Washington said. “Even now that I’m older I still can’t work around being a diabetic. It doesn’t work out that way.”

From soda to smoothies, Washington had to change her diet and lifestyle quickly.  

She went from spending money on food and personal expenses to purchasing over a $1,000 for her medication.