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Sammie Ward

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African American Women and Diabetes
by Sammie Ward   
Rated "G" by the Author.
Last edited: Friday, November 23, 2007
Posted: Thursday, March 03, 2005

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11.8% of African-American women are diagnosed with diabetes.


African American Women and Diabetes
by Ms. Sammie Ward

Madeline Brown, 42 was at her yearly physical when she described the following symptoms. “It am always hungry, thirsty, and always tired.” The doctor ordered a fasting plasma glucose test. A couple of days later, Madeline was informed that she has Type 2 diabetes.

Like, Madeline, approximately 11.8% of African-American women age 20 years or older are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, and the risk are even higher for women over the age of 55. Medical studies have shown that African-American women are more likely to have diabetes than Caucasian women, however majority of women don’t even know they have it.

What is Diabetes ?

There are three major types of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes, results from the body’s failure to produce insulin, the hormone allows glucose to enter and fuel them. 5-10% of African-American are diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes is a disorder that occurs from the body inability to make enough, or properly use insulin, a hormone that allows blood glucose to enter the cells of the body and be used for energy. 90-95 of American have Type 2 diabetes.

Pre-diabetes is a condition that occurs when a person’s blood glucose levels are high but not high enough to be diagnosed as Type 2 diabetes. At least 16 millions Americans have pre-diabetes.

Complications of Diabetes

African-American experience higher rates of diabetes complication associated with the eyes, kidney, heart, and amputations.

Diabetic Retinopathy occurs when the blood vessels in the eyes weaken or leak. It can lead to impaired vision and ultimately to blindness.

Another complication is kidney failure. Also, called end stage renal disease. African-Americans are 2.6 to 5.6 times more likely to suffer from kidney disease. With more than 4,000 new cases diagnosed each year.

End stage renal disease occurs when the kidney filter waste products from the blood and excretes them as urine, allowing proper fluid balance in the body.

Heart disease is another life threatening disease linked to diabetes. In heart disease, fat and cholesterol build up in the arteries that supply the heart with blood. This buildup blocks blood from getting to the heart, allowing for a fatal heart attack.

Diabetes is the leading cause of lower limb amputations. The risk of a leg amputation is 15 to 40 times greater for a person with diabetes. Each year 82,000 diabetes patients lose their foot or leg. African
American are 1.5 to 2.5 times more likely to suffer from lower limb amputations.

People with diabetes are also five times more likely to suffer strokes and once having had a stroke, are two to four tomes as likely to have a recurrence.

Managing Diabetes

Once diagnosed with diabetes, it is imperative that patients take control of their lifestyle. Treatment consists of medication taken by mouth or insulin injections. Treatments also include proper nutrition, weight management. Weight loss is very important in the control of diabetes along with regular exercise. These treatments are important and may even alter the effects of diabetes.


About the Author:

Ms. Sammie WardSammie Ward is a romance fiction writer who writes confessions short stories for Black Romance, Black Confession, Black Secrets, Bronze Thrills, and True Black Experience magazines. Her short stories have also appeared on Nubianmindz, Nubian Chronicles, and Timbooktu African-American literature site. She is a contributing health writer for Amag & Family Digest Magazine. She is also the author of four novels, In The Name Of Love, Love To Behold, Seven Days, and It's In The Rhythm.

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Reviewed by Phyllis Du'Gas 12/31/2005
Great info. Thanks!

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