Recognizing Diabetes - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

2/6/02

Recognizing Diabetes

Diabetes is not a disease to take lightly. It's the fourth leading cause of death by disease in the United States according to the American Diabetes Association. This year more than 178,000 people will die from diabetes complications.

Five years ago, Trish Houston weighed 400 pounds. That's when she joined a nationwide study that took high risk patients and changed their lifestyles to try to prevent Type Two Diabetes. People like Trish were asked to cut calories and do moderate exercise.

Now, after five years of study, the results will be published in the New England Journal of Medicine. It found that changing your lifestyle can cut your chances of developing diabetes by 58%. "This was a real thrill for me, to start losing steadily, slowly in a healthy reasonable fashion," says Houston.

"So now, five years after we started recruiting patients, we have an answer, and we now know that Diabetes is preventable. Over 12% of the population of Washington, D.C. has Diabetes. It's an incredibly common disorder. If we catch it early, we can treat it effectively, and if we can find it even before it starts, we now have ways of intervening to prevent it," says Dr. Robert Ratner, lead researcher at Washington Hospital.

How can you tell if you are at risk or may even have Diabetes? First, you need to get tested, particularly if you are overweight or have a family history of Diabetes. Doctors will be able to tell you if you have Diabetes or if you are a candidate for developing the disease. "We've made enormous progress in understanding the disease, identifying ways in preventing the disease, and we are coming very close to finding ways to potentially curing the disease," says Dr. Ratner.

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