Accessible diabetes care is here in your neighborhood

African grandmother happy after working out

By DR. RINAL PATEL

Legacy Community Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 4.9 million non-Hispanic African- Americans aged 20 years or older have diabetes. Additionally, African-Americans are 77 percent more likely to have diabetes compared to non-Hispanic Caucasians. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) says that if action is not taken, as many as one in three adult Americans will have diabetes by 2050. But don’t let the numbers scare you. There are plenty of steps you can take to prevent and manage diabetes.

If you’re worried about diabetes care, the best place to start is to develop a relationship with a trusted health care provider. He or she may refer you for an evaluation with an endocrinologist, a physician trained to diagnose and treat diseases and disorders of the endocrine system such as diabetes. Pharmacists, dietitians and patient educators may also become part of your care team to help you better manage diabetes. 

One known contributor to diabetes is a lifestyle with little or no physical activity. Being more physically active is a powerful tool in managing heart health, weight management and stress relief. The ADA recommends about 150 minutes of cardio a week. Cardio is any exercise that raises your heart and breathing rates, such as walking, stair climbing, shooting hoops and dancing. But remember lifestyle changes can be difficult. You won’t hit 100 percent every time – and that’s okay!

Thesupport offamily and friendscan also help make the difference between feeling overwhelmed and feeling empowered. Support can come in many forms such as planning healthy meals, exercising together, helping to keep track of medications and keeping medical appointments. Plus, family and friends may benefit from the steps you’ll be taking together to make healthier choices. 

While there is no cure for diabetes, it can be managed through treatment and lifestyle changes. If you’re looking for a trusted primary health care provider or endocrinologist in your neighborhood, visit LegacyCommunityHealth.org. Legacy has been linking community members to high quality, affordable health care for close to 40 years!