First diagnosed in 2003 following a blood test, Merkerson says the news was a “real wake up call.” She knew diabetes ran in her family, and that it is a significant concern in the African-American community, but Merkerson was not aware of the signs and symptoms.

“After my diagnosis, I got serious about my health and worked with my doctor to come up with a management plan that I can stick to, which includes diet, exercise and medication,” she says.

The new normal

To manage her diabetes, Merkerson checks her blood sugar level twice a day. She also visits a doctor every three months to monitor her A1C level (a measurement of average blood sugar over 2 to 3 months) with a simple blood test.

“'I know having Type 2 diabetes can be challenging,' reflects Merkerson. 'But the good news is that it’s a manageable disease.'”

She’s dedicated to educating others, especially fellow African-Americans living with Type 2 diabetes. “The African-American community is more likely than other ethnic groups to be impacted by diabetes,” Merkerson explains. “And I’ve seen this first hand.”

Merkerson is challenging the African-American community to work with their doctors to set and reach their A1C goal, which can help reduce their risk of developing serious, long-term complications over time. One way she’s doing that is through America’s Diabetes Challenge: Get to Your Goals, an educational program from Merck and the American Diabetes Association.

“I know having Type 2 diabetes can be challenging,” reflects Merkerson. “But the good news is that it’s a manageable disease.”