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November is Diabetes Awareness Month

By Rosaland Tyler

Associate Editor

New Journal and Guide

Before you reach for a second or third helping at the holiday table, take this quick true-false quiz on diabetes.

1. Black adults are almost twice as likely to have diabetes, as non-Hispanic whites. (True or False)

2. Diabetes is a silent killer, a serious disease, but can be managed with diet and exercise. Diabetes is manageable. (True or False)

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3. Studies show that people at high risk for diabetes can prevent or delay the onset of the disease by losing 5 to 7 percent of their weight, if they are overweight. (True or False)

4. At one time, Type 2 diabetes was more common in people over age 45. But now more young people, even children, have the disease because many are overweight or obese. (True or False)

5. All of these well-known entertainers have diabetes – Halle Berry, Tom Hanks, Aretha Franklin, and S. Epatha Merkerson. (True or False)

If you said all five questions true. Congratulations.

The reason more people die from diabetes than breast cancer and AIDS combined, is that they do not separate myths from facts. As a result, every 17 seconds, someone in the United States is diagnosed with diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

So, here are five facts about diabetes.

Fact No. 1: There is no one food or nutrient that causes diabetes. Type 1 diabetes (where all of the body’s insulin producing cells are destroyed) develops both because of genetics and from poorly understood environmental triggers that result in the onset of the disease. Type 2 diabetes is the result of both genetic and lifestyle factors.

Fact No. 2: Being overweight is a very important risk factor for developing Type 2 diabetes. In fact, it is the most important manageable risk factor. Other risk factors such as a family history of Type 2 diabetes, ethnicity and age are things that you cannot change.

Fact No. 3: As many as one-fourth of people with Type 2 diabetes are at a normal weight or only moderately overweight. The thing to keep in mind is that if you have a family history of diabetes, you should do your best to be physically active and eat a healthy diet.

Fact No. 4: Sweet foods (including most dessert items), if eaten in small portions, can be eaten by people with diabetes. There is no such thing as an “off limit” food; however, the key is to choose a healthy item instead of a sweet treat.

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Fact No. 5: Type 2 diabetes doesn’t go away. If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, it increases the chance you’ll be diagnosed with depression.

Black adults are 80 percent more likely than non-Hispanic white adults to have been diagnosed with diabetes by a physician. But many do not know they have diabetes until they develop one of its complications.

Diabetes can cause blindness, amputation, kidney failure, heart attack, and stroke.

To learn more, go to the American Diabetes Association website, or phone (800) DIABETES (342-2383).

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