Who Should Read This Book
The African American Guide To Living Well With Diabetes is the book that will give you all the information you need to manage your diabetes for the long haul. And I know a lot of books may say that. And many of them out there will give you lots of information on drugs, diet, and exercise. But this book does two things that the others won’t.
First, it’s not just written for anybody. It’s written just for “us”—because we need and deserve something that speaks to our unique relationship with diabetes. Some research indicates that we’re just genetically more prone to the disease—and the numbers seem to bear that out. Of the almost 24 million people who are diagnosed with diabetes, there are four million African-Americans who have the disease. A fourth of Black women over 55 have it; a quarter of all Black folks between the ages of 65 and 74 do too. And we suffer greater consequences from the long-term complications of diabetes that our less-melanated brothers and sisters.
Not only are we more likely to have it, but we manage it differently than other people might. Our approach to exercise, our eating habits, and our relationships with doctors—all of that has an impact on how we approach our health conditions. And all of that was taken into consideration as this book was being written.
The second unique thing about this book is that it incorporates what is perhaps the most important part of our culture: our spirituality. This book does not assume we all belong to the same religion. Among us are Baptists, Buddhists, Baha’i, Muslims, Methodists and even a Mormon or two. But, as a whole, we tend to be a community of believers—and the spirituality that infuses our lives has an impact on how we feel about physical affliction, healing, and the relationship between faith and medicine. Your beliefs will have an overt or subtle influence on how you cope with your condition, so we address your spiritual health right along with all the physical aspects of your condition. In fact, each chapter closes with a passage called “For Your Spirit,” an inspirational, encouraging message that brings home the connection between what’s going on in your body and what’s happening in your soul.
Because people of color tend to be people of faith, many of us approach our health challenges as a test of our spiritual beliefs. That can be a good thing. Even some folks in the medical community are coming around to the idea that prayer, meditation, affirmation and belief in a Higher Power can help keep us healthier and aid us in overcoming illness. Many people who believe that you can use your spirituality to bring blessings into your life or push unwanted events away, use the phrase “don’t claim it” to mentally dismiss an illness. The phrase is designed to help us fortify ourselves mentally and spiritually when we are fighting disease. But when we take “don’t claim it” to mean “ignore it”—and fail to seek the care we need—we put at risk the very temple created to house our spirit. We don’t want to take it there. This book reclaims “don’t claim it” as a statement of encouragement that you can use as armor as you cope with the challenges of living with diabetes. It’s an affirmation that you can overcome the disease—if you use all of the tools that Spirit has provided.
I’m confident that after reading The African American Guide To Living Well With Diabetes you will want to share this book with family, friends and all those you know who have been touched by diabetes.