Helping African American women with diabetes

African American women with diabetes greatly reduced their stress levels and improved their condition of “dyslipidemia” through the practice of the Transcendental Meditation technique, according to a first-ever study we presented during the American Public Health Association’s Annual Meeting and Exposition in Philadelphia last November.

Dyslipidemia is the most common complication of diabetes, characterized by low HDL (good) cholesterol and high triglyceride levels, which increase the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD).

The 12-month pilot study involved 49 diabetic African American women, aged between 55 and 85 years, who were randomly assigned to a Transcendental Meditation program group or to a health-education group focusing on diet and exercise.

The Transcendental Meditation group showed a 29 percent greater increase in HDL (good) cholesterol and a 20 percent greater drop in triglycerides than subjects in the diet and exercise group at the end of the trial period.

The study was conducted by researchers at Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, Howard University Hospital and College of Medicine in Washington, D.C.  and the Institute for Natural Medicine and Prevention at Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa.

This research suggests that stress reduction with the Transcendental Meditation program is both feasible and effective in reducing diabetic dyslipidemia in African American woman and it can be an important part of a lifestyle modification program for improving diabetic dyslipidemia and preventing CVD.

Nearly twice as many African American women suffer from CVD and diabetes as Caucasian women, and psychosocial stress contributes to the risk of diabetes and diabetes complications especially CVD. Combining the Transcendental Meditation technique with changes to diet and exercise may produce an even greater benefit.