By Lindsay E. White Senior Communications Coordinator for the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan OSCEOLA COUNTY\u00a0\u2014\u00a0The National Kidney Foundation of Michigan is\u00a0recognizing African American History Month in February by spreading awareness about the increased\u00a0risk of diabetes and kidney disease in African Americans, and the importance of health management to\u00a0prevent and manage these health issues. Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure among African\u00a0Americans. For African American adults with diabetes, it\u2019s important to take care of your health to\u00a0prevent kidney failure and other health complications. An estimated 4.9 million \u2014 or 18.7 percent \u2014 of all non-Hispanic blacks age 20 and older have diagnosed and\u00a0undiagnosed diabetes. Minority youth are affected, too. In youth 10 to 19 years old, type 2 diabetes is\u00a0more common than type 1 diabetes in non-Hispanic blacks. Additionally, African Americans are twice\u00a0as likely to be diagnosed with diabetes as non-Hispanic whites and are more likely to suffer diabetes-related complications, such as kidney failure and lower extremity amputations. In fact, unmanaged\u00a0diabetes is four times more likely to cause kidney failure in African Americans than in non-Hispanic\u00a0whites and can also lead to serious complications such as blindness, limb amputation, heart attack and\u00a0stroke. The good news is that people with diabetes can reduce the risk for these complications by\u00a0controlling blood glucose, blood pressure, and blood lipids. The following steps can help individuals\u00a0with diabetes control their disease and prevent or delay complications: Learn About Diabetes. Diabetes means that your blood glucose (sugar) is too high. Diabetes is\u00a0serious because it can damage your heart, blood vessels, eyes, kidneys and nerves. Know Your Numbers. Ask your doctor what diabetes target numbers are best for you. Learn\u00a0about your A1C, blood pressure, and cholesterol numbers (known as the ABCs of diabetes). In\u00a0addition, if you are a smoker, quit now. Call (800) QUITNOW for help. Manage Your Diabetes. Keep track of your diabetes numbers, be active on most days of the\u00a0week, eat healthy and don\u2019t smoke. Get Regular Care. Contact your health care team if you have any questions or problems as you\u00a0manage your diabetes, medicines or supplies. Despite the increased risk of kidney disease and diabetes in African Americans, type 2 diabetes can be\u00a0managed as well as prevented or delayed. Research shows that type 2 diabetes can be prevented or\u00a0delayed in minority groups. You can cut your risk for developing type 2 diabetes by as much as 58 percent by\u00a0losing weight, eating less fat and fewer calories, and being active 30 minutes, 5 days a week. For more information about the management and prevention of diabetes and kidney disease, please\u00a0visit nkfm.org or (800) 482-1455.