The goal of effectively managing chronic disease is an improved quality of life …
Every day on her lunch break, rain or shine, licensed practical nurse Yvonne Leitze walks outside for 30 minutes. Like many Black women, she suffers from high blood pressure and diabetes.
Leitze also changed her diet. Instead of eating her normal high carb, high-fat diet, she eats more fruits and vegetables for breakfast and lunch and has a sensible high-protein dinner. Adding a tablespoon of peanut butter or protein powder to oatmeal in the morning keeps her feeling fuller longer. Eating more protein also helps regulate blood sugar.
She says, “Once you get a diagnosis of chronic disease, it’s time to become proactive. You’ll need some cheerleaders to say, ‘I love you. I want to see you be healthy. I want to spend more years with you. So, find a support system of family, co-workers, or friends.”
In addition to her’ ‘less’ philosophy,’ Means encourages women to have routine check-ups after they are diagnosed. She says that although Black women are usually the backbone of the family, they have to learn how to take care of themselves first, before taking care of others.
Scott Fenske, MD, is an internal medicine doctor with a career that spans over 30 years. He says that although genetics play a role in chronic diseases, they can be regulated to prevent secondary problems like strokes and heart attacks. He says, “Regulating your food and developing a fitness routine is crucial. In a more sedentary population —that’s menopausal or later — women must not become too ingrained in the dietary traditions of their families, which may not necessarily be heart healthy. You have to reduce those carbs and eat more protein.”