Black Women & Diabetes – More than a Little Sugar

For Black women, the risk of developing diabetes is great. It affects 1 in 4 Black women ages 55 years and older and is listed as the fourth leading cause of death for all ages. Diabetes is also more prevalent among Black women than other ethnic groups as noted in the following facts:

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes, often referred to as "sugar," is a serious, common and costly disease. It is a disease in which the body does not make enough insulin or cannot use the insulin it makes effectively. Insulin is needed to help the glucose or sugar that is produced when a person digests food, enter the cells of the body. Diabetes is a lifelong condition and will steadily worsen unless a person makes consistent and healthy lifestyle changes.

Risk Factors for Diabetes

Lifestyle affects many of the "risk factors" of diabetes. Risk factors are conditions or habits that increase the chances of developing a disease or having it worsen. Many of the risk factors that can lead to developing Type 2 diabetes are common among Black women, including being overweight or obese, having high blood pressure and high cholesterol and lack of physical activity. These condition are linked to lifestyle choices such as diet and physical activity and can make living with diabetes more difficult and if lifestyle changes are not made - can make if life-threatening

For diabetes, there are two types of risk factors-those we cannot change and those we can control. The ones we cannot change are family history and age, which for women becomes a risk factor at or near the age of 55.

Most risk factors can be controlled. Often, all it takes are lifestyle changes. Here is a quick review of these risk factors:

Diabetes Does Not Have to Be Our Destiny

There is good news. According to the National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP), losing 5 to 7% of body weight can reduce one's risk for developing diabetes. So, you can take action and lower your chance of developing diabetes and its risk factors.

Diabetes News

Published Thursday, October 20, 2011
African American women who develop gestational diabetes mellitus during pregnancy face a 52 percent increased risk of developing diabetes in the future compared to white women who develop GDM during pregnancy, according to a Kaiser Permanente study published online in the journal Diabetologia. more»
Published Sunday, October 2, 2011
Of African-American women age 20 or older, 12 percent have type 2 diabetes, and the rate only accelerates as their ages increase. Of all cases of type 2 diabetes in the United States, 15 percent are African-American women. more»
Published Thursday, July 21, 2011
For those women who are planning a pregnancy and already have diabetes, or for the 135,000 women each year who develop gestational diabetes during pregnancy, the risks to themselves and their babies are significant. The American Diabetes Association's Diabetes & Pregnancy: A Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy for Women Who Have Type 1, Type 2, or Gestational Diabetes provides important insights to prevent diabetes complications by properly managing blood glucose levels, making lifestyle changes, and taking medications. more»
Published Friday, October 22, 2010
One in three American adults is projected to have diabetes by 2050, according to a report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Friday. An aging population, diabetics living longer and the increasing number of at-risk minorities are the main factors contributing to the rise according to the report. However the prevalence of more»
Published Wednesday, March 31, 2010
As the nation marks American Diabetes Month, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius released a new report today, Preventing and Treating Diabetes: Health Insurance Reform and Diabetes in America. The report comes one day after Sebelius toured the East Manatee Family Healthcare Center in Bradenton, Fla. At the center, Secretary Sebelius held a roundtable discussion more»
Published Sunday, March 28, 2010
THURSDAY, March 5 (HealthDay News) -- Stress may play a key role in the development of type 2 diabetes in obese black women, U.S. researchers say. "Much attention has been given to the role of obesity in the development of type 2 diabetes, but stress may be as important in this at-risk population," study co-author Anastasia Georgiades, of Duke University more»
Published Monday, November 30, 2009
The stats on diabetes in the African-American community are already alarming: one in four Black women has it. A new study from the University of Chicago might give us even more reason to get on the wellness train. According to researchers, nearly 41.1 million people in the U.S. are expected to be diagnosed with diabetes by the year 2034. That's up from 23.7 more»