An estimated 4.9 million — 18.7 percent — of all non-Hispanic blacks age 20 and older have diagnosed and undiagnosed diabetes. Diabetes is four times more likely to cause kidney failure in African Americans than in Caucasians. In addition to kidney failure, unmanaged diabetes can lead to other serious complications such as blindness, limb amputation, heart attack and stroke.
Luckily, people with diabetes can lower the occurrence of these complications by controlling blood glucose, blood pressure, and blood lipids.
• Learn About Diabetes. Diabetes means that your blood glucose (sugar) is too high. Diabetes is serious because it can damage your heart, blood vessels, eyes, kidneys, and nerves.
• Know Your Numbers. Ask your doctor what diabetes target numbers are best for you. Learn about your A1C, blood pressure and cholesterol numbers (known as the ABCs of diabetes).
• Manage Your Diabetes. Keep track of your diabetes numbers, be active on most days of the week, eat healthy, and don't smoke.
• Get Regular Care. Contact your health care team if you have any questions or problems as you manage your diabetes, medicines or supplies.
Despite the increased risk of kidney disease and diabetes in African Americans, type 2 diabetes can be prevented, delayed and managed, which can reduce the chance of having other health issues down the road.
Visit www.kidney.org for more information about diabetes and kidney disease care and prevention, or for information on upcoming diabetes classes and workshops. You can also call the NKF at (800) 596-7943.