As a child, as common as ‘sugar’ was and as much as it caused folks to have amputations, it just never occurred to me that this was such a serious disease. It was just something we accepted. Several years ago, my girlfriend’s mom experienced three amputations as a result of diabetes complications and I recall my friend asking me “Are they just going to keeping cutting her up until there is nothing left of her?” I had no answer for her. But I think that is when the seriousness of this disease really struck me as I watched type 2 diabetes slowly take over and then literally take her mother’s life. Yesterday, the world lost a celebrity to complications of the disease. Doug Banks was what some referred to as a radio legend, with his work “laying the template for what Black radio would be”. I am in awe of how common this disease is and how many people in our community have it.
Radio personality Doug Banks died of diabetes-related complications. He was 57.
Diabetes has been something, as a people, we just accepted. No one ever talked about it as a problem and certainly no one ever mentioned anything about prevention. We didn’t even know it could be prevented until more recently. But, we have come a long long way with what we know and more importantly what important lifestyle changes we should make. The first thing we have to do is know if we are at risk for it and know if our body is giving us a signal that we are heading into very dangerous territory. And have no doubt – type 2 diabetes is very dangerous territory. Prediabetes is that signal. If you are diagnosed with prediabetes it means your blood sugar level is higher than normal, but not high enough to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes. Yet some of us get the prediabetes diagnosis, are given little in terms of resources and information on what to do next, and make no serious changes to our lifestyles. 15% – 30% of people with prediabetes will develop type 2 diabetes within five years. But that simply is not a given. You can prevent it. Unlike my friend’s mom and Doug Banks, those of us who are not already diagnosed with type 2 diabetes have a chance to never be. Are you one of the 9 out of 10 people who don’t know you have prediabetes? If you don’t know your body is giving you that signal, you may lose that chance. Take the risk test. Just take the test!! Type 2 diabetes is not our destiny.