Tag Archives: heart disease

Kuttin Kandi: Hiphop, Heart Disease, Fatphobia, and Truth-Telling

Debbie says:

I’m sorry to say I never heard of Kuttin Kandi (also known as Candice Custodio-Tan) before I read this article, clearly because I’ve been hiding under a rock.

The woman is a force to be reckoned with:

The first woman to reach the DMC USA Finals and a founding member of the all-female Anomolies crew, the Queens-bred Filipina turntablist has shared the stage with legends (Kool Herc, Afrika Bambaataa), big kids (MC Lyte, LL Cool J) and period contemporaries (Jay-Z, dead prez, Immortal Technique). In addition to beat juggling and competition-judging, she writes revealing poems, lectures regularly, does grassroots organizing and serves as a mentor and educator at the UC San Diego Women’s Center. She’s also spearheading a compilation album, The Womyn’s Hip-Hop Movement, co-writing a book about Filipino-Americans in hip-hop culture, and she proudly represents the 5th Platoon crew, Guerrilla Words and R.E.A.C.Hip-Hop (Representing Education, Activism & Community Through Hip Hop).

In April, she was diagnosed with a heart condition called “atrial fibrillation.” Shortly after she learned that, her heart stopped beating for seven seconds. Her medical professio nals prescribed a pacemaker and an indefinite course of blood thinners.

She’s been telling her story in a Facebook series called “Notes of a Revolutionary Patient.” I don’t read Facebook, so I’m not up with her writing there, but apparently she gets into everything from her hard childhood history to fatphobia in the medical profession. In the Colorlines interview, she’s extremely clear-sighted:

I realized I was receiving biased medical care the moment they didn’t ask me what work I have done and haven’t done to “be healthy.” The moment they told me, “You need to lose weight” without asking my personal health journey, I knew they were judging me. They didn’t look at me as though I was a person; they just looked at my pounds. If weight is the issue, okay fine—let’s discuss the weight [and] what got me here. But i think it’s more than just weight. For any patient, doctors need to know the details. I know that there’s a whole herstory about me. I’ve [suffered] a range of mostly invisible disabilities including depression, bulimia and binge-eating/compulsive disorder. In my 30s I was diagnosed with anxiety and panic disorder, agoraphobia, diabetes, hypertension, sleep apnea, bipolar disorder and severe allergies that require two shots a week for three years. I also have an Auditory Processing Disorder, which I occasionally reframe as a different learning style. Doctors need to take their time explaining things to people; many people have different learning styles.

And, the “true understatement that needs to be stated over and over” award goes to:

the simple fact that the health care industry is not [generally] educated in social justice, power, privilege and oppression is systemic racism.

I want to engrave that on a plaque and hang it in every hospital and doctor’s office in the country. Yeah, sure, I know; no one would let me. But I want to.

Everything else she says in the interview is golden: about histories of sexual violence, about working in male-dominated industries, about life/activism balance.

I’m sorry that her misfortunes brought her to my attention, but I’m so glad to know she’s in the world. And somehow I feel confident that she’s going to stick around and teach us (starting with her doctors!) for quite a while longer. Here’s her fundraising site; I sent some money. If you are in a position to, I hope you’ll consider it.

Thanks to Jan Herzog for the link on a mailing list I read.

Fat and Health: We Told You So

Debbie says:

From the department of we-weren’t-surprised-were-you, comes this story. The article at the link has the familiar half-disturbed, half-smug tone. (“Oh, no! You don’t mean that fat people aren’t all killing themselves?” “Oh, no! We’ll find another way to spin this tale so that fat is still bad for you.”) The story itself, however, says just about what we’ve known all along: some fat people have high cholesterol and other heart disease risk factors, and so do some thin people. Some fat people don’t, and some thin people don’t.

You have to dig a little to find the real study, which turns out to be yet another spin-off of the NHANES (National Health and Nutrition Examination Studies), which ended in 2004 and provided a lot of reasonably (but not unimpeachably) good data on American eating habits. This particular piece tracked 5400 people, and here’s the conclusion: “Among US adults, there is a high prevalence of clustering of cardiometabolic abnormalities among normal-weight individuals and a high prevalence of overweight and obese individuals who are metabolically healthy.”


To go along with this excellent news, we have the ever-impressive Sandy Szwarc, making sure we know what the media has not been telling us: a highly-respected new metadata analysis from an international group (The Cochrane Collaboration) has reviewed over 10,000 Type II diabetes studies, and found … no data worth the pixels they are printed in.

Despite all of the claims for the benefits of various dietary and lifestyle interventions for type 2 diabetes, none of them are yet supportable by quality evidence. The Cochrane reviewers expressed concern about the lack of hard, clinical endpoints in research to date and said there is a need for future researchers to “take care to record and publish mortality data, changes or delays in medication needs and quality of life, as these are the outcomes of importance to people with type 2 diabetes.”

Lots more at the link: Sandy is always thorough, careful, and clear.