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Controlling the ABC’s of Diabetes

By: Soror Diamond Meness

The National Education Program will be a strong supporter this month for National Diabetes Month of 2014.  Many people are unaware, that diabetes has a strong impact on the health of your heart.  So this year, their campaign “Be Smart about Your Heart: Control the ABCs of Diabetes” will help those who are living with Diabetes understand the importance of getting your Diabetes under control to avoid problems such as heart disease.  This article will take a look at the ABCs of Diabetes by helping you lower your risk.  What exactly are the ABCs of Diabetes?
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A – A1C Testing
A1C Test is a blood test that helps you measure the ‘average blood sugar levels or blood glucose level over a three month period.   Another name for it is the hemoglobin A1c test.  Hemoglobin is the protein in the red blood cells that carries oxygen.  This is the primary test that is used when measuring or managing an individual’s diabetes.   In someone who does not have diabetes, that blood test would average below 6.  However, for those of us suffering with Diabetes, a test result of over 6 means your blood glucose level is high and you are at risk of having or have diabetes.
B – Blood Pressure
Many people don’t know that your diabetes does affect your blood pressure.  Your blood pressure is measured by the force of your blood against the walls of your blood vessels.  Hypertension or High Blood Pressure can make your diabetes even more complicated.  It can lead to diabetic eye disease or even kidney disease.  There is a high risk that people with diabetes will develop high blood pressure during their lifetime.  Think of the extra sugar that is carried in the blood of a person with Diabetes.  Now think of that extra sugar as tiny little shards of glass.  When an individual has diabetes and high blood pressure, there is more likely to be damage to the arteries because those little shards of ‘glass’ is doing an extreme amount of damage to the arteries as it travels.  This can lead to atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries.  This is what causes high blood pressure in diabetics.  If it’s not treated, these blood vessels will become damage and can lead to a stroke, heart failure, heart attack or even kidney failure.  This is why it is extremely important to keep your blood sugar levels under control.  When you think of it in this light, you really get a better understanding of how diabetes is damaging the body.
C – Cholesterol
In the body, there are two types of Cholesterol: the LDL and the HDL.   HDL or High-Density Lipoprotein is the good cholesterol that our body needs.  HDL moves along the blood stream removing the bad cholesterol from where it doesn’t belong.  It in turns helps reduce heart disease.  LDL or low density lipoprotein is considered bad cholesterol.  LDL cholesterol collects in the walls of the blood vessels.  This causes blockages of the atherosclerosis and can lead to heart attacks if a blood clot should form in an artery that is narrowed by the atherosclerosis.
The unfortunate aspect of being or having diabetes is that it lowers the good cholesterol level and it raises the bad one.  This can also increase the risk of a heart attack or stroke.  This is also called diabetic dyslipidemia which essentially means, your lipid profile is going in “the wrong direction”.  It puts an individual at risk for coronary heart disease.
S – Stop Smoking!!
The Center for Disease Control has linked smoking to Type 2 diabetes.  Research shows that 30 to 40 % of smokers are more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes than nonsmokers.  Smoking makes controlling your diabetes harder.  Being diabetic alone is hard enough, but smoking increases the chances of have serious complications such as heart and kidney disease, poor blood flow in the legs and feet which can lead to amputations, Retinopathy or blindness in the eyes, and peripheral neuropathy or damaged nerves to the arms and legs.  This causes numbness, pain, weakens, and poor coordination.  Smoking can ‘speed up’ the complications that an individual already faces when they are a diabetic.  For example, on its own, smoking can raise glucose levels even in individuals without diabetes.  How? If you are a diabetic and you smoke, it will make it harder to control your diabetes.  Why? You may take your medicine and eat properly, but when you smoke, your glucose levels will raise anyway.  Also, on its own, smoking can cause blood clots to form.  A person who has diabetes who is already at risk of blood clots due to blockages of the atherosclerosis, coupled with the risk of blood clots in smokers, greatly increases one’s chance of a stroke or heart attack.  Want help to stop smoking: call 1-800-QUITNOW.
As an individual dealing with Diabetes, this Soror strongly encourage everyone, even if you are not a diabetic, to educate yourselves on the dangers of diabetes.  It is the only way that we can began to stop the cycle.  Knowing your risk is the first step in preventing or even slowing down your diabetes as well as having an early diagnosis so that you can begin treatment right away.  The longer you wait, the more dangers there are involved.  The National Diabetes Statistical Report of 2014 states: 29.1 million people or 9.3% of the U.S. Population have diabetes.  21million people are diagnosed yet another 8.1 million are undiagnosed.  That means 27.8% of people with diabetes were undiagnosed.  Don’t ignore this deadly and silent killer.
Please note: This information is not a substitute to seeing a doctor if you have concerns. This information is strictly to inform you of some basic facts regarding Diabetes. This Soror stresses that you speak with your Primary Care Physician (PCP) if you have concerns or a history of Diabetes in your family. Proper diagnosis is the first step to getting the proper treatment.
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Too “Big” for the Box – An SL Model’s Point of View

There have been many perceptions of what a “great black model” should be on this game. Some say that a black model should have a certain skin, certain shape, hair, and dress a certain way. Depending on what type of model you strive to be, this “box” may apply to you. Instead of going into what a black model is on Second Life, let me tell you what a black model is NOT:

We are not limited to just one size. Please get out of the mindset that if you can’t fit into standard sized mesh clothes, that you are not model material. Some of the best print models I have seen inworld are not what you call in “model shape”. Some of the most successful black bloggers are not confined into this “under 50 waist” shape. Also, being a “black model” in the black SL community does not mean that we have to always fit the stereotypical “thick girl” shape either. We all come in different shape and sizes in RL, so please don’t limit us in our Second Life’s. Just because a plus size avatar doesn’t fit your “fashion world”, does not mean she doesn’t fit anywhere else.

We are not available in just one flavor. We come in different shades of browns, some darker than others. Get out of your “Shadeism” mindset and see the spectrum of colors around you, and how each shade is beautiful in its own way.

We do not just look good in “African Styling” or “Urban Styling. Even in RL modeling and print ads, it seems as if black models are always used for more traditional African looks, over anything else. Don’t put us in this box!

We are not lazy, late, and not dependable. I can’t tell you how many times I have been reminded more than others about rehearsal because they felt as if my avatar’s skin color translated into me being “late” or “lazy”. Those traits are not just based on one’s skin color. I’m sure that “late” and “lazy” has no racial preference.

We don’t have to live up to the many stereotypes of our race. Often times as black models, we feel as if we have to have certain features to fit in – and others may expect us to look and act the way stereotypical black women act. This is not true. Be You and do what makes you happy!

We are not to be overlooked! Regardless of how you feel about the African American person in RL and SL, one thing is for certain – we are not going anywhere, we are beautiful, and our money/lindens spend just the same as any other avatar!

There are so many things that black models; heck even black women on SL are not, which could take all day to list. The bottom line is this:

We all come to Second Life to do something, or be something. One of the wonders of this virtual world we live in is the freedom that it gives us to simply just BE. Don’t taint the beauty of our individuality by being so small minded and putting people of different races or beliefs in a different box. As for me, I choose, and will continue to live outside of the box. Will you?

-Shelby Matfield

Miss Virtual World Ethiopia 2014

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Living With and Understanding Diabates

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November is National Diabetes Awareness Month.  As I sit back and reflect on the word ‘Diabetes’, I think of my grandmother, who I use to help take care of during one of her ‘Episodes’.  I didn’t understand exactly what was going on with her, and as a child, there was only so much the mind of a five year old can grasp when it comes to understanding this life threatening disease.  I remember getting up in the middle of the night always checking on her to make sure that she was ‘okay’.  That she didn’t need sugar water.  I remember going downstairs in the middle of the night to fix sugar water for her even thought I was extremely afraid of the dark but also understanding that if I didn’t make it, she could die.  I remember, as I got older and had my first child, how Diabetes had taken her legs and finally her life.  I also remember having kidney issues as a child, not understanding that at that moment, I had Type 1 Diabetes.  Having over 35 years of 1st and 2nd hand knowledge of dealing with Diabetes in my family, I was very happy to write this article to touch on the importance of Diabetes. This article will take a look at this disease.  It will review the symptoms and give you some facts on what Diabetes is and how to manage it.  It will also discuss what Diabetes is NOT.

Please note: This information is not a substitute to seeing a doctor if you have concerns.  This information is strictly to inform you of some basic facts regarding Diabetes.  This Soror stresses that you speak with your Primary Care Physician (PCP) if you have concerns or a history of Diabetes in your family.  Proper diagnosis is the first step to getting the proper treatment.

What is Diabetes?

The American Diabetes Association defines Diabetes as a group of diseases characterized by high blood glucose levels that result from defects in the body’s ability to produce and/or use insulin (American Diabetes Association, 2013).  There are 3 types of Diabetes: Type 1 or juvenile Diabetes, Type 2, and Gestational Diabetes.

Types of Diabetes

Type 1 -Diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults, and was previously known as juvenile Diabetes. In type 1 Diabetes, the body does not produce insulin. 

Type 2 -Diabetes your body does not use insulin properly. This is called insulin resistance. At first, your pancreas makes extra insulin to make up for it. But, over time it isn’t able to keep up and can’t make enough insulin to keep your blood glucose at normal levels.  This is the most common form of Diabetes. 

Gestational Diabetes– Pregnant women who have never had Diabetes before but who have high blood glucose (sugar) levels during pregnancy are said to have gestational Diabetes (American Diabetes Association, 2013).

Facts about Diabetes and Complications of Diabetes

Data from the 2011 National Diabetes Fact Sheet (released Jan. 26, 2011) shows that 25.8 million children and adults in the United States—8.3% of the population—have Diabetes.  Diabetes has been diagnosed in 18.8 million people with another 7.0 million people who go undiagnosed.  79 million people are diagnosed as pre-diabetic and there were 1.9 million new cases of Diabetes are diagnosed in people aged 20 years and older in 2010.  It is more common in African American and Hispanic cultures.  If not properly controlled diabetic complications include heart disease, strokes, high blood pressure, blindness, kidney disease, and nerve damage which can lead to amputation. 

Symptoms of Diabetes

Diabetes is sometimes referred to as the silent killer.  Early detection is the best treatment in helping to get Diabetes under control and avoid the complications that come with having Diabetes.  The following symptoms of Diabetes are typical. However, some people with type 2 Diabetes have symptoms so mild that they go unnoticed (American Diabetes Associations, 2013).

Common symptoms of Diabetes:

•          Urinating often

•          Feeling very thirsty

•          Feeling very hungry – even though you are eating

•          Extreme fatigue

•          Blurry vision

•          Cuts/bruises that are slow to heal

•          Weight loss – even though you are eating more (type 1)

•          Tingling, pain, or numbness in the hands/feet (type 2)

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms or have a family history of Diabetes, do not hesitate to voice your concerns with your Primary Care Physician.  Taking this minor first step can help catch Diabetes early.

Myths about Diabetes

There are many myths about Diabetes that make it difficult for people to believe how serious Diabetes can be.  There can be no misunderstanding; Diabetes is a potentially deadly disease. These myths can create a picture of Diabetes that is not accurate and full of stereotypes and stigma.

Myth: Diabetes is not that serious of a disease.

Fact: If you manage your Diabetes properly, you can prevent or delay Diabetes complications. However, Diabetes causes more deaths a year than breast cancer and AIDS combined. Two out of three people with Diabetes die from heart disease or stroke.

Myth: If you are overweight or obese, you will eventually develop type 2 Diabetes.

Fact: Being overweight is a risk factor for developing this disease, but other risk factors such as family history, ethnicity and age also play a role. Most overweight people never develop type 2 Diabetes, and many people with type 2 Diabetes are at a normal weight or only moderately overweight.

Myth: Eating too much sugar causes Diabetes.

Fact: The answer is not so simple. Type 1 Diabetes is caused by genetics and unknown factors that trigger the onset of the disease; type 2 Diabetes is caused by genetics and lifestyle factors.

Myth: People with Diabetes should eat special diabetic foods.

Fact: A healthy meal plan for people with Diabetes is generally the same as a healthy diet for anyone – low in fat (especially saturated and trans fat), moderate in salt and sugar, with meals based on whole grain foods, vegetables and fruit.

Myth: If you have Diabetes, you should only eat small amounts of starchy foods, such as bread, potatoes and pasta.

Fact: Starchy foods can be part of a healthy meal plan, but portion size is the key. Whole grain breads, cereals, pasta, rice and starchy vegetables like potatoes, yams, peas and corn can be included in your meals and snacks.

Myth: People with Diabetes can’t eat sweets or chocolate.

Fact: If eaten as part of a healthy meal plan, or combined with exercise, sweets and desserts can be eaten by people with Diabetes.

Myth: You can catch Diabetes from someone else.

Fact: No. Although we don’t know exactly why some people develop Diabetes, we know Diabetes is not contagious. It can’t be caught like a cold or flu. 

Myth: People with Diabetes are more likely to get colds and other illnesses.

Fact: You are no more likely to get a cold or another illness if you have Diabetes. However, people with Diabetes are advised to get flu shots.

Myth: If you have type 2 Diabetes and your doctor says you need to start using insulin, it means you’re failing to take care of your Diabetes properly.

Fact: For most people, type 2 Diabetes is a progressive disease. When first diagnosed, many people with type 2 Diabetes can keep their blood glucose at a healthy level with oral medications. But over time, the body gradually produces less and less of its own insulin, and eventually oral medications may not be enough to keep blood glucose levels normal. Using insulin to get blood glucose levels to a healthy level is a good thing, not a bad one.

 Myth: Fruit is a healthy food. Therefore, it is ok to eat as much of it as you wish.

Fact: Fruit is a healthy food. It contains fiber and lots of vitamins and minerals. Because fruits contain carbohydrates, they need to be included in your meal plan. Talk to your dietitian about the amount, frequency and types of fruits you should eat.

Prevention

Prevention is the best method to controlling Diabetes. You can prevent or delay the onset of type 2 Diabetes through a healthy lifestyle. Change your diet, increase your level of physical activity, maintain a healthy weight…with these positive steps, you can stay healthier longer and reduce your risk of Diabetes.

Information contained in this blog was quoted from the American Diabetes Association located online at http://www.Diabetes.org/    I invite everyone to research this site to get more complete information regarding Diabetes and what you can do to help you or a loved one deal with Diabetes and how to manage it properly.

By Soror. Diamond Khandr Meness

Sigma Upsilon Nu, SL Sorority

 

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Sorority Spotlight Sigma Upsilon Nu by Saphy Genesis

The Sorors of ΣΥΝ would like the thank Saphy Genesis and the Sorors of Delta Eta Rho for the wonderful interview. We look forward to working with very soon.

WE ARE OUR SISTERS KEEPER

I Am Cleopatra

 

During the month of October we celebrate the woman who have survived, become a statistic of or is suffering through breast cancer.  It’s frightening as a woman to even think that in my life time I may be one of those survivors or victim of breast cancer.  It’s a real fear for me. 

It is another fear that in every 9 seconds in the United States a woman is assaulted or beaten.  It is a fact that around the world, at least one in every three women has been beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused during her lifetime – most often, the abuser is a member of her own family.  Did you know domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women—more than car accidents, muggings, and rapes combined?  Studies suggest that up to 10 million children witness some form of domestic violence annually. What is even…

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A Word Artist’s Journey…

become-a-travel-writer  By Ngozi Nyoki

If you ask me why and how I began writing, I’d have to say, I did it to release the pain.  I began with a small diary given to me by an older woman who knew of my sorrow as a child, yet was unable to afford me any relief other than to gift me the escape of pages upon which to pour my heartache.  “This is for you to write down all your feelings, so that you have a safe space to be yourself and to grow.  One day you’ll look back and read all that you’ve accomplished, and you’ll be surprised.”

She wasn’t wrong.  More than 33 years later I still have diaries with my handwritten contemplations and concerns.  The words of an 11 year old spilling upon the pages like rain dropping in all directions with seemingly no sense of order or cohesion…only one purpose…release.  Writing was a freedom space…where I could not be bound by what I saw at the time as the restrictions of an overprotective father, and rigidly structured faith guidelines.  A safe haven, where I could speak my mind, rebuff the verbal attacks of school bullies, and re-imagine the reality of my tortured days.  A private stage where I could finally say all the things I wish I had the courage to say out loud.

As the years passed, my writing became a source of inspiration for action.  No longer were the lined pages cages to a heart that feared expression.  Instead they had become a testing ground for perfecting my verbal acumen.  Like the line of a bow, the tension propelled me to speak a word straight to the heart of what ever matter plagued me. Through writing, I was able to reflect upon my thoughts and perfect them before baring them to the world.

As a teen, my writing became a confirmation of my own excellence.  (Something that I was slow to acknowledge.)  Yet the confirmations kept tumbling out before me: essay contest winner, honors English student and an ability to write a compelling ten page research paper during a single night’s cramming session!  Ok, so maybe the last point is not the best example of excellence, but it sure came in handy!

What I learned over time is the magnitude and power of words.  How they can hurt and heal…cut and caress…demand and submit.  It was a love affair that blossoms to this day.  One that started as a small seed, and now stands mighty and strong, offering me shade and a place to rest in comfort and tranquility.  A space all my own, where the judgment of others matters little; the sweet echo of my soul’s affirmation is enough.