The Bronx is at the “epicenter” of the diabetes epidemic. Five of New York City’s 10 worst neighborhoods for diabetes-related deaths are located in the Bronx (including areas surrounding the hospital). The Fordham-Bronx Park neighborhood has the highest rate in the city at 14.6 percent. Today, many children in our neighborhoods present with Type 2 diabetes, a form of the disease that once only affected adults.
Diabetes is most prevalent among minority and low-income populations. To make matters worse, these people often have limited access to adequate health care.
Many area residents have pre-diabetes without even knowing it (as do many with “full-blown” diabetes). That’s why those at higher risk for diabetes – who are overweight, have a family member with diabetes, have high blood pressure, are African-American or Hispanic, are over the age of 65 – should be screened for prediabetes. Most of those with pre-diabetes will go on to develop diabetes without early intervention.
Early intervention often includes daily blood sugar monitoring, regular doctor visits, healthy lifestyle changes (e.g., eating a healthy diet which includes plenty of fruit and vegetables, drinking water instead of soda and skin milk instead of whole milk; and moderate exercising for at least 30 minutes, five times a day). Medication may also be prescribed.
People with poorly controlled diabetes are at high risk of heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, blindness, nerve damage, amputation and death (as it is the fourth leading cause of death in New York City).
These factors were behind SBH’s creation of the Diabetes Center (as part of the Center for Comprehensive Care), which helps to educate residents about the disease, as well as screen and treat them.