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black-women-talking-with-doctor-300x425Currently one in 10 Americans has the disease, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that one in three is likely to have it by 2050 if the current trend continues. For Black women, the risk of developing diabetes is great.  It affects 1 in 4 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. Certain racial and ethnic groups and women experience higher rates of diabetes due to issues such as high blood pressure, obesity and sedentary lifestyles Women with diabetes are in danger of pregnancy complications and are at greater risk than men with diabetes for heart-attack deaths and blindness. Also, women who have had gestational diabetes have a much greater chance of developing diabetes in the next 10-20 years. Diabetes can be especially hard on women. The burden of diabetes on women is unique because the disease can affect both mothers and their unborn children pregnancy such as a miscarriage or a baby born with birth defects. Women with diabetes are also more likely to have a heart attack, and at a younger age, than women without diabetes. Some women with diabetes have less interest in sex because of depression or levels can make some women feel tired all the time.

What Can Black Women Do?

Getting diabetes does not have to be our destiny.  We can prevent it by being informed, taking charge of our life and health, and getting support in making the lifestyle changes necessary to decrease risk.

•Take the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) Risk Test below to determine if you are at risk for getting diabetes.  If you score 9 or above, you may be at risk and should see your health care provider for guidance or if you live in one of the cities where the Imperative has launched our National Diabetes Prevention Program, Change Your Lifestyle. Change Your Life!

•Reach and maintain a healthy weight. Calculate your Body Mass Index (BMI) to see if you are at a healthy weight. Studies have shown that how well you self-monitor your food intake is a great predictor of how successful you will be in maintaining a healthy weight.

•Eat low-fat, well-balanced meals. Reading and understanding nutritional food labels and what is contained in the food you eat healthy food preparation, and making healthy food selections when eating out are all important habits to get into.

•Making modest changes to your lifestyle (such as being physically active, eating healthy and losing weight) can prevent you from getting diabetes.  It takes a long time to form habits and a long time to break them.  Changing behavior can be a challenge but it can be done.