American Diabetes Association Alert Day is observed annually on the fourth Tuesday in March. It is a one–day “wake-up call” to inform the American public about the seriousness of diabetes, and encourages all to take the diabetes risk test and learn about their family’s history of diabetes.
There’s also no better time to focus diabetes as one of Health Power’s “Big 4” wake-up targets. The other three targets are obesity, hypertension, and heart disease. We refer to these four conditions as “The Big 4” for good reason. They strike minority populations especially hard and often. Diabetes is focus No. 1 of Health Power’s “Big 4 Special Targets”. Few diseases take a greater toll on the health of racial and ethnic minorities than diabetes. Almost 14 percent of African American adults have diabetes, and for women over 55, the rate is an alarming 25 percent. Among Hispanics, 10 percent of adults have diabetes.
Just as disturbing is the fact that African Americans with diabetes are more likely to develop complications, have more disabilities, and die from this disease than whites.
People with diabetes have a higher risk of developing:
- Kidney failure
- Heart disease
- Loss of toes, feet, or legs
Although some of the risk factors for diabetes, such as age, race and family history, are beyond our control, other risk factors, especially weight and dietary behavior, are within our ability to control, and there is no better time than now – National Diabetes Alert Day and National Diabetes Month – to take the steps needed to control diabetes.
Remember the Health Power motto: Knowledge + Action = Power!