Diabetes is a constant threat to Black community

Nurse administering insulin to patient.
Photo Courtesy: iStock

Marcus Johnson, a junior pre-kindergarten/primary education major at Florida A&M, says he was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes when he was 15.

“Diabetes runs in my family,” he said. “When I found out I had Type 2 diabetes, I didn’t know much about it. I just knew it was a common thing in my family. After talking with my doctor, I did some research on my own. I knew there were things I needed to change like my diet and I had to exercise more. I got serious. I began to workout and eat better. Before I would just eat anything, now I’m very cautious about what I eat. Health is wealth.”

According to the Leon County Health Department, 13.4% of Black men, 12.7% of Black women, and 3% of Black children have been diagnosed with diabetes.

In the United States, Blacks are twice as likely as whites  to die from diabetes. They are three times more likely to be admitted to the hospital due to diabetes complications. And they are more than twice as likely to have a limb or foot amputation due to diabetes. They’re also more than three times as likely to experience kidney failure.

Diabetes is a chronic disease that occurs because the body is unable to use blood sugar (glucose) properly. There are four different types of diabetes: pre-diabetes, Type 1; Type 2 and gestational diabetes.

Malia Wilkins, a freshman industrial and manufacturing engineering major, says she cares for both her mother and grandmother who have Type 1 and 2 diabetes, respectively.

“When I’m not attending class and submitting assignments, I’m home caring for my mother and grandmother,” Wilkins said. “A part of caring for them is cooking. When I cook, I make sure to stick to beans, vegetables and grains, for example, because they are low in fat, salt, and sugar but high in fiber. This diet keeps their blood sugar in a good range as well as their weight down.”

If you or a loved one has diabetes, it’s critical to stay on top of things. Eating healthily, staying active, following all health care provider directions, and keeping up with medical appointments are all excellent ways to achieve this.

If you are having any diabetic symptoms, especially if you have any risk factors, seek advice and testing from your healthcare professional.

For more information about diabetes, visit Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare (tmh.org/services/diabetes/