Spring into Action
April is here, a time of rain showers and blossoming flowers. Spring is a time of rebirth and rejuvenation, where we shake of the winter chill and look forward expectantly to the halcyon days we remember from summers past. As the daylight stretches out, it is the perfect time to take stock of our health, re-energize ourselves, and re-affirm our call to action in the community.
On April 7th, people across the globe will observe World Health Day with a special focus on diabetes. According to the WHO, in 2012, diabetes was the direct cause of some 1.5 million deaths. Does this figure bring you pause? Consider this- recent estimates project that as many as 1 in 3 American adults will have diabetes by 2050 if the sources of the problem are not adequately addressed.
Diabetes has numerous impacts. Having diabetes can make a person twice as likely to develop heart disease. Further, having diabetes and heart disease can lead to heart muscle damage. Here is another shocking fact given the prevalence of diabetes–a large proportion of diabetes cases are preventable.
Springtime is the perfect time to engage in many of the activities that can mitigate or prevent diabetes. Get out of the house and celebrate the change in the weather while you hike, bike, walk, golf, play basketball, or enjoy whatever physical activity energizes you. And in honor of World Health Day, get your A1C test which measures the average blood sugar level over the last three months.
In this call to action, I also urge you to do something at the community level. We can all contribute to efforts to help prevent and treat diabetes in our neighborhoods. Take this into account. According to the Stop Diabetes campaign, in the next 24 hours, over 130 people will develop kidney failure because of diabetes. In a larger view, this means that nearly 50,000 neighbors, family members, friends and acquaintances will develop kidney failure every year from a disease that is in many ways preventable. It is all around you. Work to increase awareness of the impact of diabetes. Help increase access to screenings and care for all. Help bring parks and walking trails to communities in most need. Demand that nutrition and healthy foods be made available to all, rather than the province of those who can afford them.
We all play a part in our neighbors’ health.
At UMMA we have focused a large portion of our health education efforts on diabetes. We provide one-on-one education, as well as group discussion to help support those affected by diabetes. Which, sadly, in South Los Angeles, is everyone. Everyone in this community knows someone who has diabetes. Thus, health education workshops and sessions are a crucial component to addressing this disease that so greatly impacts our surrounding community. UMMA pledges to continue our efforts to educate, prevent and treat diabetes. We ask you to join us in our efforts against this often-devastating disease.
Together we can reach a world where diabetes does not continue to kill 1.5 million people each year.