WHY I CARE
In April 1991 my father had a heart attack and survived triple by-pass surgery. In October 2004 he had a massive stroke, and five years later in 2009, unfortunately succumbed to the imminent effects of heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and stroke. We can live longer, healthier lives by making a few lifestyle behavior changes to reduce and/or eliminate the risk factors that cause these chronic diseases. Diabetes is a disease that affects the whole family, especially when a child is diagnosed. I have family members that have diabetes. Attempting to communicate the seriousness of diabetes and the importance of diabetes prevention and control is necessary and why I care. I have family members that are obese and are among these statistics and have suffered chronic disease and illnesses as a result. I care about these health issues, including cancers, that are imminent unless healthy lifestyle behaviors are not practiced.
Obesity is currently viewed as one of the most important health concerns in the United States and is an increasing focus of federally funded research. About 30% of Americans are classified as obese. Although overweight and obesity are problems for Americans overall, African Americans and other populations of color are disproportionately affected. One-fourth of African American females aged 6 to 19 years are obese. The problem with being overweight or obese, as measured by weight and height, is that it raises the risk of chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease. But did you know that being obese can actually increase the risk of getting cancer and may even worsen the chances of surviving after a cancer diagnosis? American Cancer Society
Almost everyone knows someone who has diabetes. An estimated 23.6 million people in the United States—7.8 percent of the population—have diabetes, a serious, lifelong condition. Of those, 17.9 million have been diagnosed, and 5.7 million have not yet been diagnosed. Complications from diabetes include heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, blindness, kidney disease, nervous system damage (neuropathy) and amputations. There are three main types of diabetes: type 1, type 2 and gestational diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease. The most common form of diabetes is type 2 diabetes and is increasingly being diagnosed in children and adolescents, especially among African American, Mexican American, and Pacific Islander youth. Some women develop gestational diabetes late in pregnancy. Although this form of diabetes usually disappears after the birth of the baby, women who have had gestational diabetes have a 40 to 60 percent chance of developing type 2 diabetes within 5 to 10 years. Maintaining a reasonable body weight and being physically active may help prevent development of type 2 diabetes.
HEART DISEASE, HBP, STROKE
Diseases of the heart are the No. 1 killer in America, and stroke is the No. 4 killer. High blood pressure is the most import risk factor for stroke. As many as 73 million Americans have high blood pressure. Of the 1 in every 4 adults with high blood pressure, 31.6 percent are not aware they have it. Doctors have long called high blood pressure “the silent killer” because a person can have high blood pressure and never have any symptoms. If left untreated, high blood pressure can lead to life-threatening medical problems such as stroke, heart attack or kidney failure.