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As black men continue to break barriers and penetrate corporate ceilings, we should not overlook the fact that 40% of black men die prematurely from cardiovascular disease as compared to 21% of white men.  Black men also live 7.1 years less than other racial groups, and experience higher death rates in all the leading causes of death.
 
We need to take a more proactive role in becoming healthy.  Both heart disease and stroke are known as cardiovascular diseases which are serious disorders of the heart and blood vessel system.  Regular physical activity can help reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.  Being active helps remove those extra pounds, helps to control blood pressure as well as minimizes a diabetics need for insulin.  Exercise also boosts the level of “good” HDL-cholesterol.
 
How many of your friends, relative and even parents have high blood pressure and /or diabetes?  How do we prevent this from becoming our fate?  There are a number of preventive measures which can lower the risk of heart disease.  These examples include low to moderate intensity activity can help such as pleasure walking, stair climbing, gardening, and moderate to heavy housework… again these must be done regularly to gain benefits from these activities.
 
More vigorous exercise improves the fitness of the heart which can lower heart disease risk even more.  Some may include aerobic activities such as jogging, swimming and jumping rope.  A brisk walk and bicycling can also strengthen your heart if you do these activities for at least 30  minutes three times a week.

Unless you have to stop your regular physical activity for a health reason, stay with it.  Set small short-term goals for yourself.  The health rewards of physical activity are well worth the effort.
 
So let's make a commitment to yourself in 2010 and beyond! 

DIABETES

 

What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a disease in which the body doesn't produce or properly use insulin. Insulin is a hormone produced in the pancreas, an organ near the stomach. Insulin is needed to turn sugar and other food into energy. When you have diabetes, your body either doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t use its own insulin as well as it should, or both. This causes sugars to build up too high in your blood.


Major Complications with Diabetes

  • Heart disease
  • Hypertension
  • Stroke 
  • Loss of eyesight 
  • Kidney failure
  • Amputations

Major Risk Factors with Diabetes

  • Family history
  • Age (over 45)
  • Race or ethnic background

Decreasing Your Risk for Diabetes

  • Eat in moderation (foods low in cholesterol, low fat, low sugar)
  • Regular exercise (at least 30 minutes 3-4 times per week)
  • Regular physician check  ups (at least once a year or more if necessary)
  • Decrease or no alcohol
  • Weight loss

Treatment of Diabetes

  • Treated by a physician (if necessary, see and endocrinologist or diabetes specialist)
  • Check blood glucose level 3-4 times per day
  • Follow physician recommendations on medications
  • If you need help with diabetes diet, see a diabetic nurse educator

Know your numbers

  • Blood Glucose:  < 120 (done by patient)
  • Hemoglobin HbA1c – ADA recommends <7 (done by your physician)