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THE RELIGION CORNER: 
A Battle to Halt the Diabetes Epidemic, Pt. 2

This is the second in a five-part series first published in 2003 about my mother’s suffering with Type 2 diabetes. After learning the cause and effects, now I can help others. For the past two weeks, I did an introduction of Mother; you read my daughter’s blog and then more last week from me. My mother suffered for 12 years with Type 2 diabetes and with many complications that result from her having had this disease. She died on Christmas Day in the year 2000.

This campaign kicked off at Trinity University; it was my master’s thesis. My professor told me, “I expect this campaign to become national,” and it has. Mother lost both of her legs to amputations and had kidney failure and several strokes. At the young age of 61, Mother had her first major stroke, which caused paralysis. She ended up in Howard University Hospital, and that’s when they discovered she had Type 2 diabetes.

My sisters and I lived together, worked together in business, and now were going through this battle for life with our mother. During her younger years, she taught us well. Throughout our lives, we had been blessed, becoming successful business women, doing exactly what mother encouraged us to do. We’d had lots of success in the mass media, publicizing several major events such as serving as coordinators a major festival that attracted more than 100,000 people with major corporate sponsors and celebrities,workingfortwoPresidential Inaugural Committees, Republican and Democrat, and working for two D.C. mayors and three D.C. City Council members. And I was appointment as project director to erect the Spirit of Freedom Memorial, a national African-American Civil War Memorial located in Washington, D.C.

After learning how to publicize an issue on a massive scale, there was no way I could see the devastation caused in the life of my Mother by Type 2 diabetes, fully understand this disease and do nothing to share this with others.

We didn’t understand! Could we have done something differently? We didn’t know how an improved diet with extremely limited amounts of sugar with major reductions in eating carbohydrates and getting regular physical exercise could have made a difference in her life. Now that I’ve learned, I must share this good news with you.

What exactly is Type 2 diabetes? Diabetes mellitus is a group of diseases characterized by high levels of blood glucose. It results from defects in insulin secretion, insulin action or both, and too much inflammation is in your body.

For those of you who refuse to follow the rules, Type 2 diabetes can be associated with serious complications such as losing toes, feet, legs, and more. Plus, it brings on premature death, as in the case of my Mom.

On the other hand, people with Type 2 diabetes can turn this thing around by taking measures to reduce the likelihood of such. According to recent studies found by the National Institutes of Health, some researchers believe that African-Americans and some others inherited a “thrifty gene” from their African ancestors.

The study cited how years ago, this gene enabled Africans, during “feast and famine” cycles, to use food energy more efficiently when food was scarce. Today, we eat very much the same as we did back during slavery times in America but without strenuous exercise, which now causes Type 2 diabetes.

The problem dates back to the beginning of the slave trade, beginning 1790. For those enslaved ones, food was still unhealthy; thus, the “thrifty genes” protected them as they ate and worked in the hot sun, sweating out the toxins from fat eaten daily. (More next week).

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