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Diabetes On The Rise, But So Is Better Prevention

Exercise and healthy diet play significant role in controlling disease, delaying its onset

DAYTON, Ohio (October 16, 2013) – The number of Americans with diabetes continues to increase and so does the number of those with pre-diabetes, a condition that increases a person’s risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke, according to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

It is estimated that as many as one in three U.S. adults could have diabetes by 2050 if current trends continue. Type 2 diabetes – in which the body gradually loses its ability to use and produce insulin – accounts for up to 95 percent of those cases, the CDC said. It’s a national trend that many physicians see played out on the local level. Tim O’Donnell, DO, has been practicing medicine since 1985 and said there is a definite increase in the number of individuals being diagnosed with diabetes, particularly type 2.

“It seems as if there isn’t a morning or afternoon that goes by when I don’t see someone with diabetes come into my office,” said Dr. O’Donnell, who practices at Miami Valley Primary Care, a Premier HealthNet practice. “It is a huge issue and is one of the leading causes of cardiovascular disease and stroke.”

There are no defined risk factors that lead to type 1 diabetes other than genetics. Type 2 diabetes, on the other hand, has concrete risk factors that can be reduced with many lifestyle changes. Those risk factors include being over the age of 45, having a family history, being overweight, not exercising regularly, having high blood pressure, having low HDL (or “good” cholesterol) and/or high levels of triglycerides, and being of certain racial or ethnic groups, according to the American Diabetes Association.

The good news is that it is possible to prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes. Clinical trials have shown that losing five to seven percent of body weight – that’s 10 to 14 pounds for a 200-pound person – and getting at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes by nearly 60 percent in those who are at high risk for developing the disease, according to research published by the CDC.

“We are over-eating and under-exercising and it is having a huge impact on our health,” Dr. O’Donnell said. “I encourage people to become active again and to make better lifestyle choices such as passing on the 44-ounce bottle of soda.”

Dr. O’Donnell said some of his patients who have recently been diagnosed with diabetes are devastated at first and can feel discouraged about how the disease will affect their life. But, he tries to encourage them with this fact: They hold the power to take control of the disease and their long-term health by making wise choices each day.

“There used to be a day when diabetics had very restrictive diets,” he said. “But today we have learned that they can eat much more variety than before as long as it is in moderation and with careful consideration on how and if it will affect their glucose levels.”

Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States. Dr. O’Donnell said it is important that individuals take steps to control the disease by educating themselves on what foods and drinks constitute a healthy diet and what amount equals a healthy portion size. Proper weight maintenance through proper portions and regular exercise play a big part in the disease’s maintenance as well, the CDC said.

To learn more about diabetes or Premier HealthNet, visit premierhealthnet.com/doctor.

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