Wake-Up Call: Health Related Tips for “The Big 4″
There’s no better time than Spring for our wake-up call about the possible dangers of diabetes, 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.
Two Special Points:
- Each of The Big 4 often contributes to developing one or more of the other three conditions.
- Each condition often makes it more difficult to control the other one(s) if present.
Why The Big 4 are So Important
- 13 percent of all African Americans (more than 1 out of every 10) have diabetes.
- 25 percent of African American women (1 out of every 4) over 55 years of age have diabetes.
- Almost 9 percent (8.7 percent) of Hispanics have diabetes.
- More than 4 out of every 10 African Americans (41.2 percent) has hypertension, or high blood pressure, compared with about 3 out of every 10 Hispanics (25.9%), and 3 out of every 10 White Americans (28%).
- About 50% of African American, Hispanic and Native American women are obese, and obesity in their children is growing at alarming rates.
- About 8 out of 10 adults with diabetes are obese or overweight.
- Heart disease is the leading cause of death in African Americans and Hispanics.
What You Can Do about The Big 4
In providing some health related tips, special attention needs to be given to three things related to The Big 4:
- Prevention, which is always better than a cure;
- Early Diagnosis and Treatment; and
- Disease Control, which includes limiting complications and disabilities.
When The Big 4 go undiagnosed and untreated, they pave the way for later serious illnesses and/or early deaths, which affect entire families in addition to those who have the condition. While family history increases a person’s risk of developing any of The Big 4, the odds improve if you:
- Control Your Weight – by balancing your calorie intake with regular physical activity, which includes walking. In other words, you must routinely burn off as many calories as you take in. Our Food & Fitness Channel has (a) cultural specialty and celebrity recipes, (b) Tip Sheets on such things as “Cooking Good and Eating Healthy”, “Shopping Smart”, and ‘The Smart Diet”, and (c) other tools to help you eat healthy, and stay fit.
- Limit your fat, salt, sugar and alcohol intake, and
- By all means, don’t smoke.
Also, remember that staying healthy doesn’t have to mean high-priced medical care. It means knowing how to reduce your risk of serious illness through health awareness, and taking practical steps like those recommended throughout our website.
Remember the Health Power motto: Knowledge + Action = Power!