Tag: African-American health issues

Viola Davis Narrates “A Touch of Sugar” Documentary Film to Bring Awareness to Type 2 Diabetes

Viola Davis (photo: flickr.com); A Touch of Sugar ( via ATouchOfSugarFilm.com)

Viola Davis has teamed up with pharmaceutical company Merck on A Touch of Sugar, a documentary film which addresses the health epidemic surrounding Type 2 diabetes, particularly among African-Americans.

According to PR Newswire, the film will debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival today. Davis narrates the project, which is personal to her, as several members of her family have been diagnosed with the disease.

“Type 2 diabetes has taken a toll on my family. My great-aunt suffered from complications of the disease, two of my sisters are currently living with it, and a few years ago, I was diagnosed with prediabetes,” Davis said. “I’m one of the 84 million American adults living with prediabetes and I’m sharing my story for the first time in an effort to inspire others to take action against the type 2 diabetes epidemic.”

“It’s not something I talk about because it’s a disease a lot of us simply accept – growing up my family just called it ‘sugar.’ But, this must change. I want people to know that type 2 diabetes can have consequences. It’s not something to be taken lightly – we need to take it seriously if we’re going to get it under control.”

A Touch of Sugar is an honest depiction of life with type 2 diabetes that puts a much-needed spotlight on the real people affected by it firsthand,” said Conrod Kelly, Executive Director, Diabetes Franchise at Merck. “Although the disease is a result of a combination of genetics, lifestyle, and environment, there are steps we can take together to help reduce its impact on individuals and their families. With this documentary, Merck is dedicated to increasing awareness and inspiring action to ultimately confront America’s type 2 diabetes epidemic head on – one community and one patient at a time.”

Merck spearheads a program, America’s Diabetes Challenge: Get to Your Goals to promote living a healthier lifestyle.

People can learn more about A Touch of Sugar and how to make a difference in their communities by visiting ATouchOfSugarFilm.com. On the website, they can watch the trailer, start the conversation by downloading a discussion guide, and find educational resources to help improve diabetes management.

Jadakiss & Styles P Invest in “Juices For Life” Juice Bars to Boost Health in Hometown of NY (VIDEO)

Jadakiss and Styles P (photo via myfabolouslife.com
Jadakiss and Styles P (photo via myfabolouslife.com

Two legends in the hip-hop community are making it their goal to raise awareness about health and wellness with the launch of several juice bars in New York’s most impoverished neighborhoods.

In an interview with Elite DailyStyles P and Jadakiss, known for their group The Lox, explain the inspiration behind opening Juices For Life, a juice bar that promotes healthy living. The rappers opened up about their childhoods, reminiscing about the unhealthy snacks, like honey buns and chips, they would eat daily.

Consuming junk food in their hometown of Yonkers, NY not only put a strain on their wallets, but their health. In recent years, both artists were inspired to change the lifestyle in their neighborhoods and beyond.

Huffington Post reports:

“You’re going to get out what you put into your body,” Jadakiss said. “We didn’t know. All we knew was run to the fast food spots or run to get big bags of candy. It’s a bunch of garbage.”

Juices For Life can be found in the Bronx borough of New York City, with two other locations in the borough of Queens and in Yonkers. The juice bars also offer drinks intended to help alleviate allergies, arthritis, acne, and bronchitis. The musicians declare there’s simply nothing “soft” about promoting fruits and vegetables in the Black community.

“Our juice bars are open in the hoods on purpose to educate our people on health awareness.” Styles P said. “Build it and they will come.”

“Most of the hood don’t have access to good food, most of the hood don’t have health insurance…”Jadakiss added.

If you’re in the New York area, check out Juices For Life and great recipes you can make at home here.

article by Desire Thompson via newsone.com

HEALTH: 6 Questions You Should Ask Your Doctor About Multiple Sclerosis

stock-footage-black-woman-talking-to-sincere-african-american-doctor-at-office-deskWhen you’ve been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, all sorts of questions and concerns start racing through your mind:

“Am I going to be bound to a wheelchair for the rest of my life?”

“Will I no longer be able to do the activities I love?”

These are very legitimate concerns and you may even feel as if you’re losing control over your life, which is understandable, but one of the best ways to regain control is by gathering your thoughts so that you can ask your doctor all the right questions.

Multiple Sclerosis is a disease to the damage of the covers of nerve cells which disrupts the ability of parts of the nervous system to communicate, resulting in physical, mental and sometimes psychiatric problems. It is the sisease that forced comedy legend, Richard Pryor, into a wheelchair in the last days of his life

With the help of Dr. Bola Oyeyipo, a family physician in San Antonio, Texas, we’re answering some of your most common questions regarding MS so that you can live your best life.

1. “What kind of MS do I have?” There are four types of MS: Relapsing-remitting MS, Primary-progressive MS, Secondary-progressive MS, and Progressive-relapsing MS. Knowing which form you have is essential in fighting the disease because you will know what to expect in terms of how it effects your body.

“The conventional treatment for MS is often not pleasant – injections of immune-suppressing agents so it’s important to know the type of MS you have so your treatment can be tailored accordingly,” Dr. Oyeyipo says.

2. “How far along is my MS?” MS can be difficult to diagnose due to the fact that it cannot be detected by one single test and the symptoms tend to vary from person to person. As a result, many individuals have MS for quite some time before being diagnosed. By then, the disease will have progressed.

“The current way of diagnosing MS is finding evidence of damage in at least two separate areas of the central nervous system, which includes the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves,” Dr. Oyeyipo says. “This usually start months to years before the physical symptoms show up.”

She adds, “Knowing the extent of demyelination of the brain and spinal cord helps to guide what treatment options to take. The more extensive the disease is, [the patient will require] a more aggressive approach, [such as treatment] with immunoglobulins and steroids to preserve physical function and to achieve remission.”

MUST READ: Do You Know The Different Types Of Multiple Sclerosis? 

Continue reading “HEALTH: 6 Questions You Should Ask Your Doctor About Multiple Sclerosis”

Martin Luther King Hospital in Los Angeles Set to Reopen in Early 2015

mlk set to reopenThe embattled Los Angeles’ Martin Luther King Jr. Hospital is set to reopen in early 2015 according to hospital officials, giving residents in its surrounding community access to much needed care as well as job opportunities. The hospital originally opened in 1972 serving the African American and Latino community with various types of medical services until the year 2007. The “heaven sent” hospital as it is known to many members of the community was shut down due to high patient deaths, unqualified staff, hygiene issues, and medical scandals. The shut down resulted in the loss of hospital jobs and lack of nearby emergency rooms for the community.

According to the MLK Community hospital website, “The hospital is expected to serve 1.2 million residents from all over South Los Angeles including Compton, Inglewood, Watts-Willowbrook and Lynwood.”

Not only will the hospital create jobs for people in the community, but it will also provide more than 10 inpatient and outpatient services including but not limited to Anesthesiology, Cardiology-medical and diagnostic, Emergency medicine, Endocrinology and Gastroenterology. The new hospital will also have 131 beds, a 21-bed emergency department, a critical care unit, and labor and delivery services.

“We’re not done yet, we have a lot to do and we are going to do it,” said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas. “We are putting in the kind of services that meet the needs and the demands of that population.”

The hospital will take new measures to ensure and decrease hospital scandals, hygiene issues, and unqualified staff by hiring the highest quality staff and using modern day technology. The hospitals mission is to “provide compassionate, collaborate, quality care and improve the health of our community. Our vision is to be a leading model of innovation, collaboration and community health care.”

For more information visit: http://www.mlkcommunityhospital.org

article by Kimberlee Buck via lasentinel.net

Michelle Obama’s Newest Initiative: Using Hip-Hop to Fight Obesity (VIDEO)

First lady Michelle Obama is distributing a  hip-hop album, complete with music videos, to fight obesity at schools across the country.

First lady Michelle Obama is distributing a hip-hop album, complete with music videos, to fight obesity at schools across the country.  In June, first lady Michelle Obama appeared in a hip-hop music video that featured rapper Doug E. Fresh, singer-songwriter Jordin Sparks and TV medical personality Dr. Oz. The catchy song urged kids to “work hard/eat right” and “tell somebody/it’s your body/c’mon.” The song was just the first of a 19-track album, the majority of which are hip-hop, to be released by the Partnership for a Healthier America, the anti-obesity nonprofit that launched in conjunction with Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! anti-obesity campaign, and a New York-based group called Hip Hop Public Health.  

The full album, which includes songs with names like “Veggie Luv,” by Monifah and J Rome, “Hip Hop LEAN,” by Artie Green, and “Give Myself a Try,” by Ryan Beatty, will be released on Sept. 30.  Let’s Move! Executive Director and White House assistant chef Sam Kass says the White House is fully behind the initiative to use hip-hop – and other genres of music – as a tool to get kids to live healthier lives.

“Cultural leaders and visionaries in our country can give these messages to kids in a way that’s not preachy. Kids are going to be dancing and listening to the music,” he says. “I think hip-hop in particular – so many kids love hip-hop. It’s such a core part of our culture …and particularly in the African-American community and the Latino community which is being disproportionately affected by those health issues.”

African-American children are more than 50 percent more likely to be overweight or obese compared with white children, and Hispanic children are nearly 30 percent more likely, according to a 2008 studypublished in Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine

If all goes according to plan, some 10 of the 19 songs on the new album will be made into music videos, much like the hip-hop video in which Michelle Obama appeared. Those music videos will then be distributed to schools across the nation – starting with 40 schools in New York City, and then to schools in San Antonio, Philadelphia and Washington D.C. The hope is that teachers will use the videos during recess, physical education classes or even passing periods to encourage kids to get moving.

Continue reading “Michelle Obama’s Newest Initiative: Using Hip-Hop to Fight Obesity (VIDEO)”

‘Turning White’: Detroit Newscaster Lee Thomas and Others with Vitiligo Finding Hope

TV Broadcaster Lee Thomas
Broadcaster and Author Lee Thomas

Vitiligo, best known for being the skin disease that Michael Jackson suffered with for years, affects one in 100 people. It occurs when melanocytes – the cells that produce skin color – die early or are destroyed by the patient’s immune system. While not a primary cause, environmental toxins and stress can also aid vitiligo’s progression.  “It can be particularly troubling when patients have tan, brown or dark brown skin, as the spots are much more obvious,” said Dr. Charles Crutchfield III, Clinical Professor of Dermatology at the University of Minnesota Medical School. “Socially and psychologically, vitiligo can be devastating and have profound quality-of-life effects.”

While nothing can prevent it, once it occurs, aggressive treatment can keep it from spreading. Treatments include topical prescription creams, special UV light treatments, and special sun protection.  “In extreme cases, when only a small patch of dark skin remains, the area can be lightened,” Crutchfield said. “Sometimes small grafts of skin from normal areas can be transplanted into areas of vitiligo. Also, camouflaging skin with make-up can work well.  “Once all of the genes causing vitiligo have been identified, researchers may develop better treatments. The ultimate goal is to find a treatment that will permanently stop the skin from losing color.”

Of all the places where how you look matters more than anything else, the television business stands out as the most obvious. For Lee Thomas, an entertainment reporter at WJBK-TV in Detroit, his journey with vitiligo – he refers to it as a journey, not a struggle – began in 1993.

Lee Thomas before vitiligo patches

Thomas, who has been in Detroit since 1998, first publicly opened up about his disease in 2005  — “The first time my boss saw me without make-up on was when I did that story” — and published a memoir on his vitiligo journey titled Turning White: A Memoir of Change in 2007. Like Candise Jackson, his vitiligo started small.

“It started off as one dot on my scalp,” Thomas, 45, said. “I didn’t think anything of it at first. I did what any other grown man would do and I called my mom. She told me that it was just stress. You know how old black folks are. She said that ‘it’s just stress, baby. It’ll go away.’”

Thomas, who was working at WABC in New York at the time of his diagnosis, said that while the initial spot did go away, other spots on his hands, face, and scalp soon replaced it. He was eventually diagnosed with vitiligo and the news hit him like a bolt of lightning.

Continue reading “‘Turning White’: Detroit Newscaster Lee Thomas and Others with Vitiligo Finding Hope”