Preventing Diabetes for African Americans
Diabetes is a condition in which the body fails to properly process glucose, otherwise known as sugar. It is a metabolic disorder which can damage the kidneys, eyes, blood vessels, and nerves. Type 1 diabetes, previously known as juvenile diabetes is most often diagnosed in children and young adults and effects only about 5% of all those with the disease. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. In either case the body produces little or no insulin.
According to the American Diabetes Association, African Americans are disproportionately affected by the disease, with more than 3 million blacks living with diabetes. If you have a family history of the disease you can be at risk. Even with a family history of the illness, it doesn’t have to be your fate. With some changes in diet, exercise habits, and regular check-ups you can prevent diabetes.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate activity five days a week for most adults. Regular physical activity can prevent or delay diabetes. Walking, dancing, riding a bike, or even housework like mowing the lawn, cleaning, or painting are some ways to stay active. Weight training can also improve your physical health and help you lose weight.
Drop the excess pounds
According to a study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health, being overweight or obese was the most important risk factor for developing diabetes. Losing excess weight is key to diabetes prevention. It will also help you look and feel better. See your doctor to determine the right weight for you and find the best weight loss plan.
Improve your diet
Eating whole foods high in fiber and lean protein can help prevent diabetes. Processed foods tend to contain more sugar. Try to get 14 grams of dietary fiber for every 1,000 calories you consume. Eat healthy carbohydrates like fresh fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products. Limit saturated fats to seven percent of your diet. Also beware of trans fats and check food labels.
Get regular checkups
See your doctor to check your blood pressure, weight, and cholesterol. If you have high blood pressure simple lifestyle changes can help prevent diabetes. You doctor can make proper recommendations for your diet and exercise, and prescribe medications that help lower cholesterol and treat high blood pressure reducing your risk of complications leading to diabetes.
Ultimately, simple changes like losing some weight, exercising regularly, and changing your diet can prevent diabetes.