November 5, 2013
Diabetes is the seventh deadliest disease in the United States, but it can be managed with diet, exercise and medication.
More than 26 million people in the U.S. have diabetes -- a chronic disease in which a person’s body does not produce or properly process sugar. Left untreated, diabetes can lead to heart disease, stroke, blindness and a number of life-threatening medical complications. Dr. Michael Jakoby, associate professor and chief of endocrinology at SIU School of Medicine in Springfield, says most individuals with Type 2 diabetes don’t have symptoms, but some symptoms might include:
“... unusual thirst during the day is a potential symptom of high blood sugar. It usually links to frequent urination, both during the day and awakening in individuals at night. Some patients may notice that they feel hungry most of the time, and they eat more frequently than usual, but they fail to gain weight. That’s because their bodies are losing significant amounts of glucose or sugar in the urine. Patients may notice that their vision is unusually blurry.”
Dr. Jakoby says the prevalence of Type 2 diabetes is increasing in the U.S. and around the world because of the increase in obesity, especially among young people. Dr. Jakoby suggests some treatment options.
“If you have Type 2 diabetes, there are broadly speaking oral medications and then injectionable therapies. And really since the mid-1990s we’ve seen an increase in the number of treatment options for individuals with Type 2 diabetes. So for example, there are oral medications that decrease the amount of sugar or glucose produced by the liver. That’s a medication called Metformin. There’s a family of drugs that make skeleton muscle cells respond more efficiently to insulin. for example, The drug in that family is ACTOS.”
Dr. Jakoby says that a healthy diet and moderate exercise will help control or even prevent the disease. And newer technology helps make disease management easier. He advises anyone who has one or more of the risk factors to see their personal physician and be checked for diabetes.