Diabetes has a disproportionate impact on the African American community, with alarming statistics highlighting the increased prevalence within this demographic:
- Approximately 4.9 million African Americans aged 20 years or older are affected by diabetes, representing 18.7% of the population, a significant increase from 3.7 million in 2007.
- The likelihood of diabetes in African Americans is 1.8 times higher compared to non-Hispanic whites.
- Among African Americans aged 65-74, a quarter have been diagnosed with diabetes.
- Shockingly, 1 in 4 African American women over 55 years of age live with diabetes.
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Living with diabetes can be challenging, but adhering to some fundamental guidelines can effectively help regulate blood sugar levels and prevent potential complications. Here are 15 essential lifestyle tips that can contribute to a healthier life with diabetes:
1. Monitor your blood sugar levels regularly, as relying solely on how you feel may not accurately reflect your actual levels.
2. Ensure you get sufficient sleep, as inadequate rest can worsen nerve pain and disrupt blood sugar levels.
3. Tend to cuts and injuries promptly, as diabetes can slow down the healing process and increase the risk of infection.
4. Manage stress levels effectively, as stress can directly impact blood sugar levels.
5. Engage in regular exercise to help lower blood sugar, improve insulin usage, and enhance heart health.
6. Incorporate strength training into your exercise routine to improve insulin efficacy and manage blood sugar levels.
7. Maintain a healthy weight, as even modest weight loss can significantly improve blood sugar control and reduce the risk of heart disease.
8. Prioritize comprehensive pre-pregnancy and prenatal care if you have diabetes, to ensure a healthy pregnancy and baby.
9. Take necessary precautions during flu season, such as frequent hand washing and getting an annual flu shot.
10. Limit daily sodium intake to manage blood pressure and decrease the risk of heart disease.
11. Monitor fruit consumption, as some fruits contain high levels of carbohydrates that can elevate blood sugar levels.
12. Moderation is key when consuming sweets; balance portion sizes and manage overall carbohydrate intake.
13. Incorporate healthy fats into your diet, while limiting saturated and trans fats found in processed foods.
14. Opt for comfortable and well-fitted footwear to prevent foot problems, which can be more severe for individuals with diabetes.
15. Undergo the A1c test regularly to gain a comprehensive understanding of your blood sugar control over a longer period.
Taking these steps can significantly improve your quality of life while managing diabetes.