How frustrating is it to watch the news day after day and see how African Americans are the hardest-hit during this COVID-19 pandemic? It doesn’t seem to matter whether we are the minority or majority — our stats keep coming up higher than others.
According to an April 8 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, even though the racial breakdown from those monitored the report was 59% white, 14% Latino and 18% Black, 45% of hospitalized coronavirus patients were white and 8% were Latino, while 33% were Black, suggesting that Black populations might be disproportionately affected by COVID-19.
In Chicago, new data released Saturday showed that 70 percent of people who have died from COVID-19 in the city were Black, according to a report by radio station WBEZ. Black people make up only 29 percent of the city’s total population. You also heard the reason is because of diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity issues. Why do you suppose this is true? Hosea 4:6 says it best: “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.”
My extended family has experienced a COVID-19 death, a 64-year-old man from Detroit. The General Motors retiree, who was also a deacon with a dynamic singing voice, was a textbook case of at-risk Blacks as described by the CDC. He had three underlying conditions — type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and a high body mass index.
This column is my effort to help each of you understand how these three health challenges can either cause devastations, or with proper knowledge, you can be spared.
Back on Christmas Day 2000, when my mother passed away from complication of the three culprits, my family was uninformed about diabetes. We wanted to know more about the disease that took our mother in such a brutal fashion, so much pain and suffering, a classic case. Mother had both legs amputated and had kidney failure, so she was on dialysis. Mother had at least 10 strokes, and she suffered with high blood pressure for years. As her oldest daughter, I promised to educate millions of people regarding the causes and preventions of type 2 diabetes. In sharing with the general public, my mother’s living shall not be in vain.
Let’s now talk about causes of all three of the conditions that African Americans find themselves suffering with.
First, let’s talk about how this problem got started in the 1600s, all the way back in slavery days. Dr. Sherita Hill Golden, who heads the Diabetes Center at Baltimore’s Johns Hopkins Hospital, told me during an interview on my radio show, “During Grand Rounds, the team of doctors discussed how back during the time when Blacks were enslaved, the masters were the only ones to suffer from diabetes.” The masters were free to eat and sleep and didn’t work in the fields from sunup to sundown, but the enslaved did. It didn’t matter what Black folks ate, especially if they were working in the fields.
Put simply: We can all shake off the shackles of these three killers by simply changing our diet by eating less carbohydrates and sweets, more green leafy vegetables, and only eating portion sizes. Secondly, take 30-minute walks at least five times each week. Lastly, eliminate excess salt intake and stress from our lives. More next week.
Lyndia Grant is a speaker/writer living in the D.C. area. Her radio show, “Think on These Things,” airs Fridays at 6 p.m. on 1340 AM (WYCB), a Radio One station. To reach Grant, visit her website, www.lyndiagrant.com, email email@example.com or call 240-602-6295. Follow her on Twitter @LyndiaGrant and on Facebook.