Colorful Headwraps Cover Up Climbing A1C’s Among Haitian Women

Wellness with a Wow

Colorful Headwraps Cover Up Climbing A1C’s Among Haitian Women

Meet the New York Haitian desiger, Paola Mathe who has been praised or making “colorful the new black” as reported by the New York Times.

Ms. Mathe is challenging the way women wear head wraps. “Why not wear a headwrap on the red carpet instead of just to cover your head to run errands?” she told NY Times reporter, Tariro Mzezewa. “It’s this beautiful, powerful accessory that promotes strength and power and culture.

Paolo Mathe is the founder of Fanm Djanm, which means “strong women” in Haitian Creole which could aptly apply to Haitian women living with diabetes who are pro-active about their health.

People living with diabetes of Haitian descent may have a tougher time managing their blood sugars than others, a study published in the journal Diabetes Care.

On average, Haitian patients’ A1C was 8.2 percent, versus 7.7 percent among African American patients, and 7.5 percent among white patients.

The A1C test is a blood test that provides information about a person’s average levels of blood glucose, also called blood sugar, over the past 3 months.

An A1C level below 5.7 percent is considered normal. An A1C between 5.7 and 6.4 percent signals pre-diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is diagnosed when the A1C is over 6.5 percent. For many people with type 2 diabetes, the goal is  to keep their three month blood sugar average (A1C levels) at or below 7 percent.

Moreover, nearly 25 percent of Haitians had an A1C level above 9 percent, which is considered poor blood-sugar management.

The reasons for the discrepancy aren’t clear, according to Dr. Varsha Vimalananda, of Boston Medical Center, and colleagues. Even after researchers accounted for factors like insurance coverage, doctor visits in the past two years and whether patients spoke English, Haitian patients were still found to be much more likely than African Americans and whites to have an A1C level above 9 percent.

This suggests that other factors are at work, according to Vimalananda’s team. One possibility, they write, is the high carbohydrate content of the traditional Haitian diet; another is that culture gaps between doctors and Haitian patients may in some cases hinder communication.

The Haitians had only about one-third of the risk of complications such as heart disease or clogged arteries in the legs. And they were roughly half as likely to have problems such as nerve or kidney damage.

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