Prevention! It is one of the buzzwords that pops up these days during conversations about health and wellness. We all know that it is important to eat in moderation and increase our exercise routine to help avoid serious diseases. On the other hand, what does it mean for those who already have a chronic disease or have extra weight to lose? I deal with this question daily in my Long Island, NY practice and I always say, “It’s never too late for prevention.”
For example, if you have diabetes, it is important to eat three to four healthy meals per day and exercise to prevent some of the other issues that could be more devastating. If you are already overweight, it’s important to prevent even more weight gain.
Top chronic diseases affecting Blacks
Here’s a look at the top health concerns for Black Americans. Knowing your risk of developing these conditions can help you make positive changes to take control of your health:
- Heart disease: Black Americans are 20% more likely to die from heart disease compared to Caucasians.
- High blood pressure: High blood pressure often develops earlier, is more severe, and is less likely to be controlled in Black Americans.
- Obesity: Black Americans have the highest rate of being overweight or obese. Among Black adults, 63% of men and 77% of women are either overweight or obese.
- Diabetes: Diabetes is 60% more common among Blacks Americans compared to non-Hispanic whites.
- Stroke: Black Americans are 50% more likely to suffer a stroke than Caucasians.
- Cancer: The overall cancer mortality rate is higher for Black Americans than any other race or ethnicity.
- Chronic liver disease: Chronic liver disease is among the leading causes of death for Black Americans.
- Asthma: Asthma is more prevalent among both Black adults and children.
Chronic disease prevention
Here are a few tips for weaving a little prevention into your daily routine, regardless of your health status:
Diagnosis is not disaster.
You might have diabetes or high cholesterol or be overweight now, but it does not mean that this will always be the case.
With proper diet and exercise, it is possible to prevent these diseases from worsening or overcome them completely without being on medicine for the rest of your life.
Even if you are taking medication for these diseases, you should still institute other healthy habits, like eating right and exercising.
Moderation and substitution are key.
Getting healthier often means sacrifice. This does not mean that you have to deprive yourself or give up your favorites. You just need to become more creative with your options.
If you are a soda drinker, try the low- or no-calorie version with sweeteners or a small can instead of