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Oklahoma Health


Diabetes Awareness E


By Dr. Gabriel Vidal, MD | Reviewed by Dr. Steve M. Blevins, MD


very November, we are reminded of an ill- ness that currently affects more than 30 mil- lion Americans. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in 2012, more than 8 mil-


lion of those individuals are currently unaware they have it. If the projected number of new cases holds true—1.7 million new diagnoses every year—this illness could im- pact close to 36 million Americans by the end of 2016. To put it another way: If you went to the movies to watch the newest fl ick with 100 of your friends, 10 of them would have it. The International Diabetes Federation is projecting


that by 2040 there will be 640 million people across the globe living with diabetes. That is twice the population of the United States. We observe National Diabetes Month in November, and this year’s theme is set to be: Managing Diabetes—It’s Not Easy, But It’s Worth It. Obesity and diabetes go hand in hand. Unfortunately,


33 percent of Oklahomans are obese. This ranks Oklahoma sixth nationally; Arkansas currently holds fi rst place with


OKL: How many types of dia- betes are there?


Dr. Azar: Classically there are two types of diabetes: Type I and Type II. Type I is an auto- immune condition that occurs typically in chil- dren. It’s a case of the immune system attacking the pancreas and causing a problem with insulin. These children have to go on insulin rapidly in the course of their disease. Type II, however, is a later onset. It’s a completely different disease. These are usually individuals who are middle age, typically obese or overweight, have insulin resistance and later go on to develop Type II diabetes. The majority of Type II patients will be managed with pills; some will need insulin ei- ther at their diagnosis or later on in the course of their disease. There are other types of diabe- tes, however not as common as the two previ- ously mentioned.


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35.9 percent of its residents being obese per the CDC. Even Colorado is now above the 20 percent mark meaning at least 1 in 5 Colorado residents is obese. Obesity is defi ned as a body mass index over 30. For example— Russell Westbrook, who is 6’3’’ tall, would have to weigh more than 240 pounds to be considered obese. While BMI does not account for excessive muscle or bone in an in- dividual which can label some athletes as overweight or even obese, it is still a good tool for quickly estimating an adult’s chances of developing obesity-related health problems. For more about diabetes, Oklahoma Living spoke with


Dr. Madona Azar, associate professor of Endocrinology and fellowship program director at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. Oklahoma Living also spoke with Gloria Matthews, registered nurse and diabe- tes clinical nurse leader at OU Medical Center regarding how to enjoy the holidays and at the same time lead a healthy lifestyle.


OKL: If a woman is diagnosed with diabetes during her preg- nancy, does that increase her chances of later developing diabetes?


Dr. Azar: Yes, it does. We typically screen for gestational diabetes, which is diabetes happen- ing during pregnancy, around the second trimes- ter. There is a higher risk of developing diabetes later in life once a woman has been diagnosed with gestational diabetes. We recommend these women be tested for diabetes after pregnancy and lifelong measures of diabetes prevention be implemented.


OKL: What kind of screening should be done?


Dr. Azar: Fasting blood glucose should be


done as part of a yearly physical. Another option would be for a hemoglobin A1C to be drawn at any time. Any overweight adult should be screened.


OKL: How can I avoid long-


term complications from diabetes?


Dr. Azar: It is important to have tight blood


sugar control once the diagnosis of diabetes is established. This is key in order to prevent eye disease, kidney disease, and so on. It is very im- portant to start on day one. Also, talk to your physician about doing a yearly eye exam. Be sure to have your feet examined periodically, choles- terol panel checked, and any other risk factors managed from day one.


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