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  • Writer's pictureDr. Kimberly F. Jackson

Empowering Our Health: Taking Control of Diabetes

Updated: Nov 21, 2023


In the spirit of Diabetes Awareness Month, I had the privilege of joining forces with esteemed physicians from our community at a recent health forum hosted by the Chambers Health Group and supported by the Lambda Mu Nu chapters of Omega Psi Phi. The event featured a distinguished panel of healthcare professionals, including Dr. Kimberly F. Jackson in Family Medicine, Dr. Bande Virgil specializing in Pediatrics, Dr. Hugh E. Ogletree, Sr. in DMD, and Dr. Gerty Jean-Louis focusing on Family Medicine. Dr. Charis Chambers, an expert in Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology, and Dr. Wesley Chambers, specializing in OBGYN, also shared their valuable insights. Together, we engaged in a meaningful discussion about the challenges posed by diabetes, particularly its impact on marginalized communities. As we approach major food holidays, it becomes even more crucial to raise awareness about this chronic metabolic disorder and work collectively towards a healthier future.





Diabetes is a chronic metabolic disorder characterized by elevated blood sugar levels.

Currently, there are 37.3 million Americans diagnosed with diabetes, and that's just those who are aware of it. It's alarming how diabetes is increasing in children and teens. According to the National Diabetes Statistics Report 2020, around 210,000 children and teenagers under the age of 20 years in the United States have been diagnosed with diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is much more common in young people than type 2. However, the rates of both types in young people are increasing. Young people who develop diabetes have a higher risk of health challenges throughout their lives.


The National Diabetes Statistics Report 2020 states that around 210,000 children and teenagers under the age of 20 years in the United States have been diagnosed with diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is much more common in young people than type 2. However, the rates of both types in young people are increasing. Young people who develop diabetes have a higher risk of health challenges throughout their lives. To make matters worse, there are around 96 million people who are currently in the pre-diabetic stage, ready to join the stats at any given time.


Diabetes is a chronic metabolic disorder characterized by elevated blood sugar levels. It occurs when the body either fails to produce or properly use insulin, a hormone that regulates blood sugar. This disruption leads to a buildup of glucose in the bloodstream, which can have detrimental effects on various organs and systems. It is one of the leading reasons why people go blind, develop kidney failure resulting in dialysis, and need to have parts of their bodies amputated.


Type 1 diabetes is considered to be an autoimmune disease that can happen at any age, but it usually starts in children or young adults. Diabetes in general is a condition that affects how your body uses sugar. Sugar is the fuel that your body needs to work properly. Insulin is a hormone that helps your body use sugar from food. In people with type 1 diabetes, the pancreas doesn't make enough insulin. This means that sugar can't get into the cells where it's needed for energy. Instead, it stays in the blood. High blood sugar can damage many parts of the body, including the eyes, heart, blood vessels, nerves, and kidneys.


Type 2 diabetes is a condition that affects how your body uses sugar. Sugar is the fuel that your body needs to work properly. Insulin is a hormone that helps your body use sugar from food. In people with type 2 diabetes, the pancreas still makes insulin, but the body doesn't use it properly. This is called insulin resistance. When the body is insulin resistant, it's as if the key to the car's engine doesn't fit properly.



This means that the sugar can't get into the engine and power the car. In people with type 2 diabetes, the sugar stays in the blood, even though the pancreas is still making insulin. High blood sugar can damage many parts of the body, including the eyes, heart, blood vessels, nerves, and kidneys. Type 2 diabetes is more common in adults, but it can also occur in children and adolescents.


Diabetes complications often share the same risk factors, and one complication can make other complications worse. For example, many people with diabetes also have high blood pressure, which in turn worsens eye and kidney diseases. Diabetes tends to lower HDL (“good”) cholesterol and raise triglycerides (a kind of blood fat) and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol. These changes can increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. Smoking doubles the risk of heart disease in people with diabetes.


How to prevent and treat diabetes


Once you are aware of your risk factors for diabetes, you can make informed decisions about your lifestyle and health care to reduce your risk. For example, if you are overweight or obese, you can talk to your doctor about healthy ways to lose weight.

If you have high blood pressure or cholesterol, you can work with your doctor to manage these conditions. And if you have a family history of diabetes, you can talk to your doctor about getting screened for prediabetes. By making these lifestyle changes, you can significantly reduce your risk of developing diabetes and live a healthier life.

  • Eat a healthy diet. This means eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. It also means limiting processed foods, sugary drinks, and unhealthy fats.

  • Exercise regularly. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise most days of the week.

  • Maintain a healthy weight. If you are overweight or obese, talk to your doctor about a weight loss plan.

  • Get regular screening. If you have any of the risk factors for diabetes, talk to your doctor about getting screened for prediabetes.

  • Medications - Insulin and other therapies - oral medications, injections.



New medications are showing significant improvement in diabetes control with decreased side effects and major weight loss. Remember there is no medication more powerful than the power of the fork, spoon, or hands. Lifestyle and Exercise modifications as noted previously are the first line. Talk to your doctor about what is best for you. We can fight diabetes together!


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