Diabetes & African Americans

By: Jessica Aspiras Email
By: Jessica Aspiras Email

Checking your blood sugar is one way to determine your risk for diabetes. It's also one way to manage the disease.

"It's a big problem in the African American community, and what we want to do is just let people know there are ways, there are resources out there that can help them," says Eldon Liggon of the Greater Lansing African American Health Institute.

The "1st Annual Project Power Day" was held in Lansing on Saturday. A jumpstart to a year-long program, it was a collaboration between the GLAAHI and the American Diabetes Association.

"There's five different, we call them health modules, but they're education courses on diabetes, exercise, healthy eating, and the heart," Tiana Ramos-Gee of the ADA says.

Roughly 13 percent of all African Americans have diabetes. It's one of the leading causes of death in the minority group.

"Because type two diabetes is not as symptomatic as type one diabetes, to a large extent, individuals, when they're feeling good, they don't realize if they're not self monitoring or their blood sugar's not well controlled, they could experience insidious onset," explains registered dietitian Lorraine Weatherspoon.

Diabetes is disease that affects a person's ability to produce the hormone insulin. Type one is typically diagnosed in children, whereas as type two is adult-onset and usually preventable through weight management & a healthy diet. The ADA designed "Project Power" as a way for churches to educate its members.

"African Americans come to the church because they feel that's a reliable source, and the church has always presented material to them, information to them that they consider accurate," says Pastor Ruby Brown of Day Star Community Church.

Information that could help reduce the number of diabetes cases in African Americans, or at the very least help those who have it lead a healthy life.

For more information the diabetes prevention or management log on to the ADA website at www.diabetes.org.

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