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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  • by Donna Location: Freeport, New York on Jul 1, 2007 at 03:32 PM
    I was diagnosed as a type II diabetic in March 2007. My doctor referred me to a program in Mineola to take classes for diabetes. The program itself is not a participating provider so my insurance would only pay 80% and I had to pay my deductible of $335 upfront before I could take the classes and then pay the 20% once I started the program. The biggest joke was that the classes did not begin until June. One of my closest friends is an RN and she told me she would help me and told me to get on the internet. I found so much info and recipes too. With all of this money paid for insurance, why are there no participating providers with classes for diabetes? Why is there no cure for diabetes? With my husband and my friend's help, I have lost 14 pounds and am doing well. My husband prepares my breakfast and lunch every morning and packs my bag with my snacks included. I have my own personal team and we're doing well.
  • by Sheilah Griffith Location: CDA, ID. on Jun 27, 2007 at 05:36 PM
    Hey, I read that book by Ruthie Tate. It was not only good reading but very informative. It made me check out a few things with my doctor not only did he confirm but recomended a few changes in my diet to help lower my B/P. Thanks for posting that comment, Ms. Tate
  • by Ruthie Tate Location: Missouri City, TX on Jun 25, 2007 at 05:26 PM
    Hello, I am very much aware of the effects of high blood pressure and diabetics on the African American community. My first novel, "Immoral Conception," which was released January 2007 main character deals with another devastating disease - kidney failure. It is known by very few that high blood pressure and high levels of blood glucose increases the risk of a person with diabetes to experience kidney failure. Thanks, Ruthie Tate
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