As an offensive tackle for the Houston Texans, I know how to work hard to achieve a goal. This is especially true when it comes to raising awareness for a cause I deeply care about.
I was a first-round draft pick in 2008, but now I’ve been drafted into a different role: an Ambassador for the American Diabetes Association. It’s an honor to be a part of this organization, as I understand first-hand how serious diabetes is and why raising awareness is key to helping Stop Diabetes®.
Though I myself don’t have diabetes, the disease is very close to my heart because it has affected my family for a long time. My mom was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes when I was six years old. As a consequence of her diabetes, she has had a number of health issues, most importantly kidney failure. She is now fighting to regain her health. My grandmother was also diagnosed with type 2 about eight years ago, and both of them have had strokes within the last three years.
As a child, I remember my mom having to take insulin all the time. Her diabetes became worse as I got older. She would improve her diet, then start to fall off of it. I really got on to her about a year ago—and she’s now lost at least 20 pounds. It’s been very difficult and painful for me to see her struggle with diabetes, and as her son I feel it’s my obligation to help her keep it under control.
I don’t want to see others go through what my mom went through, or deal with diabetes in their later years like my grandmother is doing. So, this is my time to raise awareness about this epidemic, especially for the African American community. You see, diabetes is one of the most serious health problems that the African American community faces today—we are almost two times more likely to have diabetes than others.
So this Black History Month, I’m here to encourage everyone, especially the African American community, to stay disciplined and stay active. You know the drill: lose weight if you need to (just 7 percent of your body weight can help!), watch what you eat and exercise 30 minutes a day, five days a week. Take care of yourself! Learn more about the Association’s program and materials to increase awareness of the seriousness of diabetes and its complications among African Americans.
I thought I’d be prone to type 2 diabetes myself, considering the number of people in my family who have been diagnosed. But I changed my eating habits a long time ago, because I know it can be prevented, or at least delayed. Early in my career, I told myself, “You need to be big.” But now at 305 pounds, I’m probably the leanest I’ve been in my career. I’m also faster and stronger. I feel good.
Get informed and educated about diabetes so you can live a healthy life, then take it one step further. I ask you to also help me and the Association advocate for those who live with diabetes every day. Become a Diabetes Advocate to increase awareness of the seriousness of diabetes and its complications among our community. We also need to raise our voice about increasing vital research funding that will improve the lives of people with diabetes and ultimately lead to a cure.
We can no longer be ignorant of diabetes. It’s our job to advocate for those who need our help. Don’t let diabetes rob our community of our lives ahead of us.
Duane Brown Professional football player and American Diabetes Association Ambassador
The emotional toll of dealing with HPV is often as difficult as the medical aspects and can be more awkward to address. This may be the area where you feel most vulnerable, and the lack of clear counseling messages can make this even more stressful, especially where relationships are concerned.
We regularly receive questions about what to tell either a current or future sex partner about HPV, for example. The better educated you are about HPV, the easier it is to give partners the information needed to answer common questions. Use the information in this section (and elsewhere on NCCC’s Web site) to give yourself a good foundation of knowledge.
Talking to a Partner
Before discussing things with a partner think about addressing any of your own questions or issues about HPV. This is to help establish your own comfort level and is where knowledge really does equal power. One of the most important aspects of coping with HPV, and helping partners develop a good understanding of the virus, is getting factual information and avoiding myths and hype. It may also be a good idea to have resources to which you can direct a partner, so you know they turn to trustworthy sources for information. In addition to NCCC’s Web pages, see our Resources page for more sites with HPV information.When talking to a partner, first remember that having HPV does not mean you have done anything wrong. As mentioned above, most sexually active people are likely to be exposed to HPV at some point, though most never have visible symptoms and remain unaware. Having HPV simply means you, like so many others, have been exposed to a common virus. It is not a reflection on you, your character, or your values, and conversations with partners should not be viewed as making a “confession” or offering an “apology”. With a new relationship it may be good to date for a while and allow aspects of the relationship besides sex to develop as you get to know one another and become closer.
Most sexually active couples share HPV until the immune response suppresses the infection. Partners who are sexually intimate only with each other are not likely to pass the same virus back and forth. When HPV infection goes away the immune system will remember that HPV type and keep a new infection of the same HPV type from occurring again. However, because there are many different types of HPV, becoming immune to one HPV type may not protect you from getting HPV again if exposed to another HPV type.
Key Points to Share
HPV types: There are over 100 types of HPV, about 30 of which are primarily associated with anogenital skin and sexual transmission. Of these types, some can cause genital warts (“low-risk” HPV) while others may cause abnormal cell changes, most commonly of the cervix (“high-risk” HPV).HPV Latency: It can take weeks, months, or even years after exposure to HPV before symptoms develop or the virus is detected. This is why it is usually impossible to determine when or from whom HPV may have been contracted.
A recent diagnosis of HPV does not necessarily mean anyone has been unfaithful, even in a long-term relationship spanning years.Medical Impact: The medical risks of genital HPV do exist and should not to be overlooked, but a key point is that for most people, HPV is a harmless infection that does not result in visible symptoms or health complications.
Very few cases of “high-risk” HPV will lead to cervical cancer, for example, primarily because the immune response is usually able to suppress the virus before cancer develops. In some cases, HPV may cause cell changes that persist for years, and the cells can eventually become cancerous if not detected in time. However, regular screening (such as Pap tests) can almost always find abnormalities so they can be treated, if needed, before cancer occurs.Some other cancers associated with “high-risk” HPV include those of the anus, penis, vagina, and vulva. These cancers are not common and are very rare in industrialized nations, however. Testing Partners for HPV
Current partners are likely to share HPV, but this may be difficult to prove. Testing options for HPV are limited and most cases are never diagnosed.Pap tests, for example are not specific screening for HPV; they are designed to detect abnormal cell changes of the cervix. HPV DNA testing is not currently approved to test infection status. HPV tests are approved for clinical use with women as 1) follow-up with unclear Pap test results or 2) as primary screening for those over age 30.Screening for men usually consists of a visual inspection to look for lesions (such as warts). Some health care providers apply an acetic wash (vinegar) as a means of highlighting lesions, but this is not a specific test for HPV and may lead to overdiagnosis.Most cases of HPV, in either gender, remain unconfirmed clinically.
Passing on HPV after treatment
Much remains unknown about HPV transmission when symptoms (lesions such as warts or cell changes) aren’t present, so experts cannot fully answer this question. However, studies show that in most cases a healthy immune system will be likely to clear, or suppress, HPV eventually. Some cases may persist for years and result in recurrent lesions, but this is not the norm. The bottom line is that most who have genital HPV DNA detected in research studies eventually test negative, often within a year or two.Many researchers and clinicians do believe “subclinical” HPV (virus may be in skin cells but no lesions are present) is less likely to be transmitted than when warts or cell changes are detected, probably due to a reduced viral load, and subsequently think it is reasonable to say the chances of transmitting virus years after the last clinical episode (where lesions were detected) will become increasingly remote over time. This is not easy to prove and the lack of a solid “yes or no” answer is frustrating. Still, HPV does not seem likely to always be active.
The newest heart disease and stroke prevention guidelines for doctors urge them to help you avoid heart disease and stroke by prescribing drugs called statins for some of you, treating obesity as a disease, and giving you other resources to stay healthy.
So what does that mean for you? Should you change your medications? Should you see a doctor for obesity treatment? How do you know if you’re healthy? These are among the questions you’ll find answers to here in the Guideline Resource Center.
The new guidelines focus on the very important areas of:
- Risk assessment
The cardiovascular prevention guidelines were released in November 2013 by the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology. These guidelines are basically recommendations for healthcare providers across the nation, created through years of scientific research.