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When it comes to living a healthy life, getting regular check-ups are a must, and there are two areas that African-American men should keep at the top of their lists, hypertension and diabetes.

African-American men suffer from diabetes and hypertension at higher rates than men and women in many other ethnic groups and regular screenings can help to save their lives.

The Mayo Clinic recommends conducting blood pressure checks with an at home monitoring system. If hypertension goes unchecked, it can lead to heart disease, stroke or kidney failure. Blood pressure monitors can be found at almost any local drug store, and you should work with your doctor to learn how to use it properly. Keep in mind however, at home screening should not replace going to the doctor.

Men should also stay in the know when it comes to their risk of diabetes. A recent study found, one-third of African-Americans suffering from diabetes are completely unaware of that they even have it. If diabetes remains undiagnosed and untreated, it can lead to heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, blindness from damage to the blood vessels in the retina, nerve damage, and impotence.

If you get tested and are diagnosed with hypertension or diabetes, it is not the end of the world, however, it does mean you need to adjust your lifestyle. Change your diet and exercise. Be an active participant in your healthcare and work with your doctor to create a plan for healthy living, but remember the first step to making ensure you do not have hypertension or diabetes is to get tested.

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