Complications from diabetes may have been the cause of death for 57-year-old radio host Doug Banks and last month, diabetes also claimed the life of 45-year-old hip-hop artist Phife Dawg of A Tribe Called Quest.
African-Americans are disproportionately affected by diabetes compared to that of the general population, and are diagnosed with the disease at the second highest rate following Native Americans.
The primary causes for the high rate of diabetes in the African-American community revolves around poor diet and lack of physical activity. With the proper treatment and care, diabetes can be prevented and/or controlled.
Dr. Jennifer Caudle, board-certified Family Medicine physician and Assistant Professor in the department of Family Medicine at Rowan University-School of Osteopathic Medicine, joined Roland Martin on NewsOne Now to discuss the dangers of diabetes, and how important it is to not only take the debilitating disease seriously, but also to be treated for it.
Dr. Caudle told Martin diabetes, otherwise known to some as “the sugar,” is “nothing to play with.”
She explained, when an individual’s blood sugar is too high, the human body “does not have enough insulin or effective insulin to deal with the it.” Dr. Caudle continued, “The sugar can affect your eyes and cause blindness, it can affect your kidneys and cause kidney disease, it can affect your blood vessels and cause you to have amputations or lose limbs or toes, or even have heart attacks or strokes.”
Dr. Caudle called the death of Doug Banks a “wake up call” for those who have been diagnosed with diabetes. The family physician also addressed the stigma associated with it, saying one of the problems she has with her patients is “convincing people that they do need to take a pill, that they do need to take a shot.”
She added, “There’s a lot of people I know who just do not want to admit that they have it and are maybe afraid or concerned about getting proper treatment and taking the pills and the shots.”
Caudle continued, “If you’re one of those people who have diabetes, your doctor has told you this, but you have been reluctant to follow their advice to lose weight, to cut back on the foods and the sugar, to take your meds, this is your wake up call.”
“This is the time to get serious about this, if you have a loved one who is like this, drag them into the doctor because it is no joke … people with diabetes can die from this condition,” Caudle said.
She did, however, offer a ray of hope to those with family members struggling with the disease or those who are currently battling it: “There are a lot of patients and a lot of people with diabetes who are doing a lot of the right things.”
Martin asked Dr. Caudle if an individual who is diagnosed with diabetes can improve their overall health and not be considered diabetic. Caudle explained those who have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes can in some instances get their health straight and “come back into that normal range for sugars.”
“I’ve been able to take some of my patients off of diabetic medication because they’ve lost weight,” said Caudle.
Watch Roland Martin and Dr. Jennifer Caudle discuss the dangers of diabetes in the video clip above.
Subscribe to the “NewsOne Now” Audio Podcast on iTunes.