The Rise of Diabetes in Our Community | Print |  E-mail
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Thursday, 15 March 2012 14:27

By Marcia Peck, M.D.


Could you or your family member be among the more than 18.8 million people in the United States with diabetes? Or could you be one of the 79 million Americans with pre-diabetes?

People with pre-diabetes have blood glucose levels higher than normal, but not high enough to be classified as diabetes.

In 2007, nearly 10% of the population in Alameda County was diagnosed as having diabetes or pre-diabetes, a significant increase over past years. What is even more alarming is that it’s estimated that an additional 28% of the population has diabetes, but doesn’t know it.

Untreated diabetes can lead to serious complications, including heart disease, stroke, loss of limb, blindness, and kidney failure.



Who’s at risk?

Those who are older than 45, have pre-diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol, are obese or inactive, or have a parent with diabetes are more likely to get diabetes. Race is also important: African-American, Hispanic, Native American, South Asians, Japanese, and Pacific Islanders are at increased risk.

Diabetes affects all age groups with recent studies showing diabetes rates are increasing dramatically among a younger crowd. Between 1993 and 2006 the number of hospitalizations among 30- to 39-year-olds for reasons related to diabetes more than doubled, especially among women.



Preventing and

managing diabetes

Diabetes can be diagnosed by a simple blood test. The disease can be controlled if recognized early and properly managed. Studies have shown it can be prevented, and even reversed, in the initial stages by changes in diet and exercise.

There are exceptions, but Type 2 diabetes is usually a lifestyle disease. The advice for preventing diabetes is no different than the advice for staying healthy-get at least 30 to 60 minutes of exercise five days a week and eat a healthy diet that includes whole grains and plenty of fruits and vegetables.

Diabetes must be carefully managed to limit complications; namely heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, eye and kidney disease. Women with poorly controlled diabetes have higher pregnancy complications, including miscarriage or a baby born with birth defects.

Diabetes is most successfully managed when the patient is engaged in their own health care, checking their blood sugars, understanding their diet, exercising, taking their medications-self management. There are several resources available to patients: their physician, nutrition and diabetes management classes, and support groups.

Talk with your doctor and get tested if you have concerns about diabetes.


Marcia Peck, M.D., is an endocrinologist with the Sutter East Bay Medical Foundation and is affiliated with Eden Medical Center in Castro Valley. Dr. Peck can be reached at 510-204-1844.




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