ANN ARBOR — April is National Minority Health Month. The National Kidney Foundation of Michigan is recognizing Minority Health Month by educating communities on how to manage and prevent diabetes, which is disproportionately higher in many minority groups.
Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure, causing over 40% of all cases, although kidney failure can be prevented or delayed with proper control and management of diabetes. Nearly 26 million Americans have diabetes—8.3 percent of the U.S. population. Compared to non-Hispanic whites, the risk of diagnosed diabetes is:
- 18% higher among Asian Americans.â€¨
- 66% higher among Hispanics/Latinos.â€¨
- 77% higher among non-Hispanic blacks.
Type 2 diabetes is the most common type, accounting for 90 to 95 percent of all diagnosed cases of diabetes in adults. In addition to many racial minorities, others who face a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes are older individuals and those with a family history. It’s important to take steps to prevent diabetes if you are at risk and to manage your health if you have diabetes to reduce your chances of developing kidney disease and ultimately, kidney failure.
For individuals with diabetes, there are a few steps that should be taken to avoid related health complications. By simply managing your diabetes ABCs (A1c, blood pressure, and cholesterol), you can prevent or delay the onset of kidney disease. This includes keeping your blood sugar low, with an A1C blood value of 7% or lower; managing your blood pressure keeping it at 120/80 or less; and keeping your cholesterol under 200mg/dl. For those with diabetes and those at risk for diabetes alike, it’s also important to maintain a normal weight and to exercise on a regular basis, and stop smoking.
For more information about managing and preventing diabetes, check out the National Diabetes Education Program (NDEP) at YourDiabetesInfo.org. You can also get information from the NKFM by calling 800-482-1455 or by visiting the NKFM’s website, www.nkfm.org.