Diabetes? No Problema!

The statistics are chilling. Children born today have a one-in-three chance of developing type 2 diabetes. For Latinos, however, that risk is one-in-two.

Consider what I witnessed recently.

My neighbor was doing some remodeling on her home. One week her contractor was out of town, and Jose, the only man allowed to drive the contractor’s truck, was missing. Days went by, and no one could raise him on the phone. What had happened?  It turned out that Jose had consulted a free clinic in Oakland, California, because he was unbearably tired, constantly thirsty, and always hungry. When his blood glucose was tested, it was over 500. During his hospital stay he learned that he had type 2 diabetes just like his mother, who had died of the disease in Mexico.

Jose is lucky because although he has no insurance, he has access to a local free clinic and healthcare professionals who know how to help him. Jose is unlucky because nothing in his life has prepared him for coping with diabetes. He learned nothing about it from his mother, who lived in denial until it killed her. As an adult, Jose drinks four cokes a day, eats a high carb diet, and never exercises. Jose has a nine-year-old daughter. If he wants to live to see his grandchildren, he needs to change his lifestyle.

Luckily, there’s a new book that can help Latinos make positive health choices. Diabetes? No Problema! The Latino’s Guide to Living Well with Diabetes, by Sheri R. Colberg, PhD, and Leonel Villa-Caballero, MD, PhD, is written for the millions of Latinos who have or are at risk for diabetes and its complications. The book, which is written in English, provides beneficial information and tips that will help Latinos understand and manage type 2 diabetes. Diabetes? No Problema! also includes inspiring stories of people who have successfully dealt with their disease, as well as current information on:

  • The myths and truths about insulin use
  • Dietary modifications that help lower blood sugar levels
  • How to minimize emotional stress with everyday tips
  • How to avoid common traps and pitfalls
  • Safe and effective ways to exercise both the body and the brain

All of the information is presented with an understanding of the particular challenges that Latinos with type 2 diabetes face in the United States.

Sheri R. Colberg, PhD, is an exercise physiologist and professor of exercise science at Old Dominion University in Virginia. She is also on the Advisory Board of Diabetes Health. Dr. Colberg has type 1 diabetes and lives in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Read a review of Dr. Sheri Colberg’s book, Diabetic Athlete’s Handbook.

Leonel Villa-Caballero, MD, PhD, is a researcher in the Family and Preventive Medicine Department at UCSD School of Medicine. He is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians (FACP) and was awarded the American Diabetes Association’s Cielo Award for his commitment to improving the health of the Latino community. He has more than seventeen years of experience treating patients with diabetes. Dr. Villa-Caballero lives in San Diego, California.

Read more information for Latinos about diabetes by the ADA

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