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Health Disparities in Indian Country
Thursday, December 25 2008
 
Written by Dr. Lydia Caros/Native American Community Clinic,
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healthdesparitiescolumn.jpgLocal elder takes control of her health Geraldine  Fasthorse (Mason) was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in
1982 and high blood pressure in 1984 while living and working in ashington State. She was diagnosed with arthritis in 1993 and steoporosis in 2004. When she was diagnosed with these conditions she ook the medications that the doctors prescribed for her, but she idn't make any lifestyle changes to support better health.


In 1997 she moved to Minneapolis and mostly stayed at home, eating hatever she liked until 2005 when she had a bad fall. After her fall he couldn't walk or move well and as a result became depressed. She ad been smoking about a half pack of cigarettes per day for 17 years, nd now it was getting to the point where she could hardly breathe. wo years later her health was getting worse and she was diagnosed ith a heart condition. In 2007 she had 2 stents put in her heart and oon after that,  a pacemaker was inserted. t this point in her life she came to a decision: she was tired of eing sick.  She could feel she was "going downhill" and she didn't ant to be disabled. It was time to do something about it.

Local elder takes control of her health Geraldine  Fasthorse (Mason) was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in 1982 and high blood pressure in 1984 while living and working in ashington State. She was diagnosed with arthritis in 1993 and steoporosis in 2004. When she was diagnosed with these conditions she ook the medications that the doctors prescribed for her, but she idn't make any lifestyle changes to support better health.

In 1997 she moved to Minneapolis and mostly stayed at home, eating hatever she liked until 2005 when she had a bad fall. After her fall he couldn't walk or move well and as a result became depressed. She ad been smoking about a half pack of cigarettes per day for 17 years, nd now it was getting to the point where she could hardly breathe. wo years later her health was getting worse and she was diagnosed ith a heart condition. In 2007 she had 2 stents put in her heart and oon after that,  a pacemaker was inserted. t this point in her life she came to a decision: she was tired of eing sick.  She could feel she was "going downhill" and she didn't ant to be disabled. It was time to do something about it.

First, she quit smoking. econd, she started exercising. She participated in Cardiac ehabilitation from August 2007 to February 2008. Then she found out bout the Running Wolf Fitness Center (RWFC) and began going there on the days opposite of her Cardiac Rehab. Now she works out at the RWFC  or 6 days a week. ext, she attended the Native American Community Clinic (NACC) 5-week iabetes Basics class and said that she learned a lot about caring for er diabetes. She especially learned about portion sizes and calorie ounting which she uses every day to help control her diabetes. She oesn't eat "fatty foods" anymore and she focuses on eating healthy Foods.

After attending Diabetes Basics she took another class that NACC ffers: Living in Balance. She said that the 6-week  class taught her ow to live healthier with her diabetes and other chronic conditions.

Today she is proud to say that she has:

• lost 18 pounds
• lowered both her blood pressure medications
• lowered her diabetes medications
• much less pain from arthritis
• no pain from her osteoporosis

Geraldine, now almost 65-years-old, feels better than she has in the ast ten years. Because she is doing more to take care of her health, he can do much more than she used to do. She can move more easily and he can breathe better. She enjoys exercise which has become a very mportant part of her life.

During the last few weeks she was traveling and missed going to the gym for about 5 days. She found that hen she wasn't exercising she was getting stiff and sore. It made her ealize that she really needs the exercise program.

Geraldine is learning how to control her own health. eraldine wishes that she hadn't waited so long to begin taking care f herself, but she is certainly enjoying the effects of her efforts ow. She wants to send a message to others: "Don't wait until you have eveloped a chronic disease to take care of yourself; DO IT NOW!!"


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